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|Address:||300 Kentish Town Road, London NW5 2TG|
|Tel:||020 7485 7331|
|Price: £31.00||Wine: £14.95||Champagne: £35.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 10am-10.30pm|
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One way to judge the service at a restaurant is to go by how they react when you keep THEM waiting, and that's exactly what happened last night at Kentish Canteen. I'd booked a table for 2 for a great set menu deal- 2 courses and a glass of Prosecco for £13.95- and turned up on time, telling the waitress that my mum was stuck on the tube (northern line, urgh), and asking if we could have some tap water for the table. After being seated on a table in a sunny spot just inside the restaurant and served my water with a smile, I was left alone to read my book, not once feeling hassled or uncomfortable, until my mum arrived and we were each served our glasses of fizz and left just the right amount of time to choose from the menu.
I chose the chorizo with sweet potato on a bed of spinach and mum went for pan fried haddock with skinny fries. The sweet potato was perfectly cooked and delicious, the spinach was fresh and tasty, but while the chorizo had a lovely deep meaty taste I felt it was missing some of the smokiness that chorizo usually has. Mum enjoyed her fish, but the fries were a little anemic and went cold very fast (one of the disadvantages of skinny fries and semi-alfresco dining). Service was fast and friendly, but I didn't really like getting served by a different person each time. It meant we got asked for things twice (have you had your Prosecco? etc) and felt a bit like we were being shuffled around.
Unfortunately, things fell down a little at dessert. My mum's lavender créme bruleé was creamy and had a perfect sugar crust, but it was hard to detect anything related to lavender. As for my affogato, here's a tip for servers- if a dessert involves one part that's melty and one part that's hot and you are serving both parts separately for whatever reason- serve the hot coffee first! My ice cream was left in front of me in the setting sun for more than 5 minutes getting steadily sadder as the waitress served someone else before returning with my coffee. I also felt that the affogato was a little too bitter (the coffee was perhaps burnt), not helped by the almonds, but the biscotti on top was delicate and sweet.
We finished off the meal with a pot of fresh mint tea each, which was served in a little teapot with colour coordinated, fabulously bohemian, glasses. Again, the staff did not make us feel rushed or pressure us to go for anything else- no one was parroting “would you like some coffee? A cocktail? Glass of wine?”. At £36 for 4 dishes, 2 pots of mint tea and service (12.5%), I felt it was very good value for money, although if I come back I'd like to try some of their cocktails and some of the food not on the set menu! I don't know if I would come back for an evening meal, but I'd be happy to return for a chat with a friend over tea.