LocationCanteen Covent Garden, just next to the Lyceum Theatre (of The Lion King fame)
Why go?The most two most ubiquitous restaurant menu words may be 'proper' and 'British' but Canteen is the real deal: delicious British food, locally sourced, and prices as keen as Coleman's mustard. Keep calm and order on - this is one menu you could happily devour in its entirety.
Who goes thereFrom after-work pints with Scotch eggs to rib-sticking roast dinners and coffee and dessert, this is place does it all and has the clientele to match. Workers, couples, families, tourists, gossiping friends - they're all here. Did we mention the cocktails? Divine. Which leads us to...
What we drankA 'Cockney Cobbler' of apple vodka, pear liqueur, lemon juice, triple sec and apple juice was a boozy Somerset orchard in a glass. Plenty of British craft beers, ciders, perrys and Somerset cider brandies also are on the menu. Wines are helpfully divided up by price point but cleverly named 'Good White', 'Great White' and 'Brilliant White'. We'll cheers to that.
What we ateA fish finger sandwich that could tame any horrendous hangover came on properly chewy, crusty white bread, while a salad of beetroot, fennel, goats curd and hazelnuts was as pretty as an English garden. A chicken and mushroom pie with mash, vegetables and gravy managed to look elegant without resorting to pretence and had plenty of juicy chicken nestled in the buttery pastry. The roast free-range chicken came with tangy garlic mayonnaise, crunchy-yet-fluffy chips, and cool, creamy coleslaw. Dessert was a perfectly tart yet sweet blackberry and apple crumble with custard. Our only complaint? That our stomachs couldn't stretch even further.
Why we love itFaultless food served in simple-yet-stylish surroundings and at prices that won't scare the horses. Proud to be British? Canteen really should be.
AddressCanteen Covent Garden, 21 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7DN. canteen.co.uk