Best Part: The Cake!

Now the Canteen has a lot of nerve, sitting there in the place where the Secret Garden was whilst simultaneously not being the Secret Garden. Do you remember the Secret Garden? Do you remember their Moussaka or their meatballs? Canteen doesn’t even do meatballs.

But the secret to a long life is forgiveness, so we went in with open minds to see what the Secret Garden-killers had to offer. We were hoping for good things since its sister Hatch (in the Maltings) has served us fine sandwiches but could big brother Canteen go one step further and serve us fine food inside a building?

It’s a lovely little area, off George Street through a little arch, with a nice view of the Abbey if you sit outside. As it was a bit chilly we went inside, where the style was canteeny, as you might expect. The formica table would not have felt out of place in a school. The walls had lots of holes in them, for some reason. The musical vibe was jolly vaguely alternative, and most of our fellow diners were singing along. This was very apparent as given the limit on space you were quite close to your fellow diners. Which seems a little un-British.

Drinks first, with my companion going for her characteristic apple juice (as an aside when did fruit juice become more expensive than beer? A small bottle cost £2.50, which would buy you a lot of apples), whilst being an adventurous chap I went for a ginger beer with lime and chili, which was very refreshing in a musty, spicy sort of way. Mrs Midweek Lunch had drink envy, hee hee.

For mains (from a menu that did not offer much more than little sister Hatch) I went for crushed up avocado on toast, with some poachy eggs and chorizo. First impressions were that it was a slightly sparse serving for the price being paid, but what is money compared to bright yellow yolk dripping over paprika chorizo fat? It was a tasty experience, and I enjoyed the eating of it.

My companion did not let the fact that she was a vegetarian stop her from ordering a Reuben sandwich, traditionally quite a meaty sandwich. But they took her request in good spirits, doubling the cheese and cutting the cost. And she was glad she did as she is very fond of sauerkraut and even more fond of cheese, and the flavours were well balanced. No doubt it would have been be extremely tasty with the salt beef too if you like eating cows.

Mrs Midweek Lunch tried to convince me that we had eaten enough and had no need for sweet afters. I beat her down with the power of my reasoned arguments, and we decided to share some ginger loaf. This was the high point, warm and moist with a sweet sticky gingerness, and the creamiest ice cream I have had for many a day. The spoonfuls of ice cream encrusted with ginger crumbs were so good I did not want them to end. But they did.

So much as I miss the Secret Garden life goes on, and Canteen is a nice place to spend some of that life eating food.


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