Chances are if you live in Clapham that after a heavy night you’ve dragged your sorry hung over head to Ben’s Canteen on St John’s Hill for one of their infamous brunches, ordered eggs or a burger and a round of Bloody Marys. Have you been to Ben’s Canteen over in Earlsfield though?
Having opened earlier this year, the sister site is larger than its counterpart but still with that simple, laid back charm that Ben’s Canteen is known for. Though both serve evening menus, I feel as if this is the one I would choose to dine in at night. Inside it has a stripped-back, minimalistic, almost nautical feel, with plain wooden floor boards, white walls and basic tables and chairs. A large sign on the wall reminded us all to ‘Be Amazing’ which we loved and bottles of water were adorned with vintage adverts, ours being a Colgate bottle.
The team were welcoming and fun although our waiter needed to brush up on his knowledge of the menu, in case you order it Russian dressing is not mild like mayonnaise as we were informed – and we still aren’t quite sure what it is.
The menu features burgers, pulled pork and tacos, as the ‘canteen’ part suggests this isn’t fine-dining; it’s all about big bold flavours, getting stuck in and not caring if a large dollop of ketchup ends up down your chin as you gorge on meat and melted cheese.
Nachos have been pimped up with avocado and sweet, tangy, BBQ pulled pork piled high – order these as they won’t disappoint. Salt beef smothered in cheese sauce and that elusive Russian dressing was another highlight.
Known for their burgers we knew what we were going to order, I went for The BC Burger it’s a classic beef burger topped with salt beef, homemade burger sauce and smoked cheddar, it was undeniably good but the flavours of the salt beef and smoked cheddar could have been stronger to come through more. The Mexi Burger as the name implies is inspired by Mexico, it’s a loaded with smashed avocado, jalapeños, double cheese and chipotle ketchup not only did it taste great but every time you order one it’s giving 50p to Wandsworth Food Bank.
Definitely get the sweet potato chips, they’re the right mix of sweet, salty and crispy and just oh so good. The cheesy chips were rather disappointing though, dry and cardboard-esque, we hope it was just an off batch.
We finished off the meal with a peanut butter brownie, which was delicious, there was just a subtle hint of peanut butter but it was dense, squidgy and so chocolatey.
Ben’s Canteen is one of those places cooks great food, knows what it’s about and why its customers love it, becoming part of the community straight away.