Canteen Canary Wharf

Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square , London, E14 5FW

Canteen

SquareMeal Review of Canteen Canary Wharf

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5.8

Food & Drink: 5.8

Service: 6.2

Atmosphere: 6.0

Value: 6.0

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 3.0

Gourmand Gunno platinum reviewer 19 January 2016

What is it with the past, why do we always feel a need to return there? Only a certain sort of person, surely, would decide to call their restaurant (or mini-chain) canteen. Prior to dining here at a friend’s suggestion, I looked up said word in the dictionary. Accordingly, canteen in extended use refers usually to ‘a refreshment room at a factory, school or like.’ I have never worked in a factory and left school over 20 years’ ago, so why would I want to return to such a place now? Shiny Canary Wharf is certainly institutionalised but a different sort of way, yet it feels like a depressingly appropriate location for such a venue. Inside it’s clean lines and functional furniture. Diners are served by slightly indifferent and surly staff (akin perhaps to the dinner ladies of yore – although I doubt this was the restaurant’s intention). And – joy – you get to stare at skyscrapers from your seat. Canteen claims to offer the best of British cooking and make nearly all of its products in-house. With regard to the latter, just because it’s made in-house doesn’t mean that it’s inherently better than a competitor’s offering; surely it’s down to the chef. Furthermore, in terms of the former, since when was ‘onglet’ a British dish; and, if it this place is supposed to be about all things British, then why no curry? Our starters (pate and salad) fared better than the mains. My mackerel pate at least had pieces of real mackerel in it and carried a lovely lemony tang. The accompanying bread on which to spread it though was disappointingly stingy. Onto the mains and my haunch of venison could – frankly – have been any meat. All notional gamey-ness that ought to have resided here had been stewed out of it. My comrade’s fish pie looked (and probably tasted) as if it really had come out of a canteen of yesteryear. Prices are at least competitive (roughly £7 for a starter and £15 for a main), but I would rather spend my money elsewhere. Perhaps the pub?

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Richard S. 07 October 2013

Cannot manage a half-empty restaurant on a Saturday lunchtime to save their lives. We stopped off with our two young children for lunch, the place looks light and airy, location is cool, food unspectaular British favourites that obviously err on the expensive side due to the location. But the service…unbelievable really. Never managed to produce a high-chair, drinks took an age to arrive and were knocked over our table when they did, a Bloody Mary that tasted like the whole bottle of Tabasco went in it, our daughters food would never have arrived if we hadn't queried where it was, they had to come back and validate the order after taking it, and then at the end of it all there's no ice cream other than vanilla. Any one of these mistakes, even a couple, would be fine – but these guys were like the Keystone Cops from start to finish. It would be completely infuriating if it wasn't for the nice trees outside that you can gaze at through the nice big windows, thinking about the time you'll be able to leave. There's much better places in the area – Iberica, Roka, anywhere but here from now on.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

The Taster 13 August 2011

I love Canteen. I go there fairly often as it's convenient and reliable, I love the clean, honest food, the servers are always a delight and the price is right. I was reminded of what a treasure it is when I had the opportunity to visit twice in the past week. In the first instance, a colleague and I dropped by for a quick dinner quite late in Canary Wharf. When we asked hesitantly whether the kitchen was still open the hostess smiled and said “of course!” in a way that implied, for you, we're always open. A small thing, you might say, but it's a nice way to start your evening. My colleague had a pie and I ordered the smoked haddock, spinach and mash. I am a huge fan of the smoked fish in this country but as well as being a gorgeous piece of fish this haddock was beautifully and subtly cooked, and more than once I felt compelled to break off our conversation to say so. A few days later, I realised I had enough time for a light dinner before the theatre and so headed for the branch at the Royal Festival Hall (thank goodness, in the middle of what is generally a pretty sad selection of restaurants). It was very busy, as usual, but the hostess found me a table for one, and I ordered the soft-boiled egg, artichoke, anchovy and green bean salad and a glass of wine (I always try to order something different just to try everything but my favourites are really their vegetable pies and beer). Not much time had passed when I started to get a bit nervous ahead of the play and when I told the serving staff they were able to speed everything up, despite the packed house, again typical of the consistently exceptional and personalised service at this restaurant. The salad was just what I needed — nothing complicated, just fresh, flavourful ingredients with minimal dressing, though I might have cooked the eggs a bit less, in fact poached eggs would have been even better. All in all two experiences that reaffirmed my appreciation for this chain and reminded me why it is I always recommend it to visitors and why it's my first choice for a working lunch. On price, the website says the prices are “reasonable” but that's a meaningless term in this town, where “reason” has nothing to do with it. Having said that, this is where we live and I always emerge from Canteen thinking, yum, that was 25 pounds well spent.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Tony ............. bronze reviewer 14 March 2011

Well it does what it says on the tin…it's a canteen. This is a place people stop off at in between shopping or that have kids. It's not brilliant …All day breakfast in good if you're hungover…eggs benedict good… They attempt to offer home made Pies…(they may well be so…but they sometimes forget to put the filling in )… The do cater for kids which is good… they do fish n chips…and sandwiches etc … .Service is good .. it's clean and It;s not that bad…but it's not a proper canteen with proper canteen prices…

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Mitzie8cake platinum reviewer 04 February 2010

Not having visited a Canteen before, I decided it was high time to see whether this latest addition to the Canary Wharf restaurant set was any good. Feeling a distinct need to eat some stodgy food on a cold and grey day, a colleague and I went down to try our luck at this usually busy restaurant. Luckily we were early enough and immediately eyed up the menu as we sat down. The restaurant is very light and airy but seemingly lacks any atmosphere, it is in its very essence a canteen, so you can't fault it there. The menu is a Brit stodge lover's dream, with all the usual British fare from fish and chips to pie and mash. I opted for the veg pie and mash which came in a huge portion as I had suspected it would. Though edible, it did lack any real seasoning or flavour and towards the end became a bland combination of textures. Not quite the impact I was hoping for. Friendly service and a healthy wine selection by the glass, make up for the food shortfalls. I can see the appeal of Canteen and the concept certainly works, but it also works better in restaurants such as the S&M Cafe chain and my local pub back home and at much cheaper prices. Good effort but more needed.

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