Ben’s Canteen, a pair of restaurants in South London, are launching a range of new menus and events starting over the summer so we went down to check it out. It takes something pretty special to tempt us south of the river on a Friday evening but the prospect of fried chicken and Champagne was too good to say no!
The idea behind Ben’s Canteen is a relaxed neighbourhood hangout where you can find great dinners, weekend brunches and an impressive cocktail list. Arriving at 7pm on a sunny Friday, it certainly seems to have proven a popular concept with the locals! The restaurant was packed inside, and the lucky few who had arrived a little earlier bagged themselves an outside table to enjoy the last of the sun’s rays.
We started with a Vodka Soda which was light, refreshing and dangerously drinkable! A range of vodkas from around the world are on offer and each is flavoured with a different homemade syrup. To start us off, we had the Spiced Duck Nuggets. They were crunchy, filled with tender duck and absolutely delicious dipped in the hoisin sauce served on the side.
Ben’s Canteen have just launched a new Burger and Wine Pairing menu so of course it would be rude not to try a selection on offer! First up was the Cheese Burger, a 7oz umami laden aged beef patty, American cheese and BC burger sauce. This was paired with a Pinot Gris from New Zealand. Pairing a white wine with a burger was a surprise for us, it’s not something we would usually consider but having a lighter wine worked well with a classic burger choice. The burger itself was really well cooked, the patty was moist and the cheese had flavour, something that isn’t always the case with American cheese.
The Posh Fried Chicken burger (buttermilk spiced chicken, bacon, slaw, mustard mayo) was paired with Champagne. It was certainly a far cry from many chicken burgers we’ve eaten in our past! The fired chicken was crisp and not greasy, and who can resist a glass of Champagne on any evening! The Hawaiian with pulled pork, pineapple fritter, slaw, mustard, pickled cabbage and BC BBQ sauce was paired with a Gamay from France, and was perhaps our favourite. The pulled pork had a great flavour paired with the sweetness of the pineapple fritter, and the BBQ sauce was just great! Our only niggle would be that there was a touch too much mustard for our liking, it slightly overpowered some of the other flavours.
Almost full to bursting, we couldn’t resist trying the DIY Doughnuts and with 50p from each sold going to the Wandsworth Food Bank, how could we say no! Presented with a bowl of mini round doughnuts, it’s up to you to fill them from a syringe with your choice of chocolate sauce, strawberry jam or maple and vanilla custard! Go on, it’s for charity!
As well as the burger and wine pairings, Ben’s Canteen also offers diners a burger/main course and free flowing fizz every night from 5pm. Plus, they’re celebrating brunch from across the world with a monthly changing brunch menu. This Sunday will be the final brunch from the USA, with next month moving across to Brazil to celebrate the Olympics!