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Ben's Canteen (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of Ben's Canteen in Clapham, London

140 St John's Hill, Clapham, London, SW11 1SL
Cuisine: British Average Price: £20.00
Tel: 020 7228 3260 | Email to Ben's Canteen | Transport: Clapham Junction | Write review

Ben's Canteen Review

Best for: burgers; beef; black pudding; beer; all things British.

Great: swapping stories with friends over a plate of deep fried pig’s cheeks followed by the venison.

How the Scot got scotched by a Scotch egg and the Ravenous Reviewer became rounded. Hear and attend and listen, for this befell and be-happened and became and was, O my best beloved Fluid reader.

With haste The Ravenous Reviewer, who’d eaten nothing but a Flake that day, and her Scottish friend, set out from Clapham Junction station on a wet Monday evening and commenced the short stroll up St John’s Hill. They braved the stampede of commuters who scowled a “humph” as they caught their trains. Through winter winds they walked, past the cheerful man from the cycle shop and the loony lads in the launderette, past the flighty florist and the snoozing shoemaker. Finally the famished duo stepped inside Ben’s Canteen, the establishment that “serves British food, done good”.

On entering the neighbourhood local and alternative to the pub, the twosome were greeted warmly by the man in charge, Ben. He was the nicest of Bens they’d ever met (in the London area at least). A serving of potted ham, hot toasted bread and homemade piccalilli was put forth upon the table; a British precursor to the devilled ham dish and pate. Quicker than the leopard that got its spots, the ham, the bread and the piccalilli were devoured. The Ravenous Reviewer and the Scot decided to roam the canteen while awaiting the delicious delights of the next course.

They espied the fun artwork: a giant cutlery set on the wall and a huge wordsearch puzzle opposite. There were free doggy treats on the counter for the canine customers and an everlasting shelf of books for Ben’s free Book Exchange service.

It was with great pleasure they received the honour of meeting head chef, David Ahern, aka Gourmet Guy; a man hailing from the southern-most part of Ireland (County Cork); a man who left his job in events to become a head chef in less than seven months; a man who told of wondrous culinary feats like ‘The Grilled Oyster Massala Recipe’ and ‘How the Bone Marrow Mayo was such “a bollock to make”’.

By the end of his fascinating ramblings – made more enchanting by the soft candlelight, the trendy tunes, and the busy buzz of other diners – the Ravenous Reviewer and the Scot were ready to gobble whatever British bites the Gourmet Guy felt most proud of. Number one was the infamous Ben’s Canteen Scotch egg.

“Bring it on,” said the Scot, “I’m hungry.”

“Brave and hearty friend, have you ever tasted a Scotch egg?” asked The Ravenous Reviewer.

“No,” said the Scot. “What’s it like?”

“Nice and eggy, sausage meaty and breadcrumbly.”

“And even more with our full English Scotch egg!” promised Ben, who seemed very gentlemanly and wise beyond his years.

“Sample one of those and I’ll prepare the mains. I think three dishes will suffice,” said the Gourmet Guy, making haste to the kitchen to whip his staff into excellent order.

So, the Scotch egg was brought forth and cut asunder. The sight of the thing stopped the Scot from sipping her glass of table water. The egg with a golden yolk (hard boiled to perfection) was encased in sausage meat and caked in crumbs of dried mushrooms, bacon and baked beans. It was the most delectable and exquisite Scotch egg ever to exist in Clapham, in London, in Britain, in all the world! For only £5 it was the ultimate sharing starter!

Then, three humungous plates arrived: the BC Burger (homemade Black Angus patty with corn beef, smoked cheddar and special sauce) served with hand cut chips in a miniature pail; chicken with garlic mushroom mash, bacon and tarragon sauce; and pollock and cockles served with crushed potatoes along with a parsley liquor. The garlic and mushroom mash was a winner for the Scot, while the pollock was the dish of the year for the Ravenous Reviewer. Both serving plates were scraped clean with not a cockle in sight, or a chip to dip.

The two diners settled back to digest and drank red wine in an attempt to rid themselves of hiccups (remember best beloved Fluid reader: hiccups at suppertime are a sure sign of delightful dining twilight merriment). The Gourmet Guy and Ben arrived one final time bearing gifts from the dessert land: poached pear with pistachio crust and winterberry trifle in a recycled jam pot.

And so, with a heave-and-a-ho, the now Rounded Reviewer and the stuffed Scot bid farewell, for remember best beloved Fluid reader, she had finally found her speech again after losing it briefly with the arrival of the Scotch egg. They left the canteen with happy smiles and set off to return to their homelands of Pinner and Putney. All that was left to clear away were two spoons and an empty jam jar with only one berry left at the bottom. And that is the end of that tale.
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Customer Reviews for Ben's Canteen

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Ben's Canteen.

“I love this place. I'm live in North Londoner, I work in North London and I normally dine in North London. For Ben's Canteen I'll make an exception and venture over the river down to Ben's. The burger alone is worth the trip.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Nina, London (6 years 9 months ago)

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Food

We serve British food, done well.

Updated 25/04/2012

Sample menu
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Drinks

Alongside our concise and well appointed wine list we stock a range of craft beers from smaller brewers including the Kernel, Sambrook's and Dark Star.

Updated 23/01/2012

Ben's Canteen Opening Hours

Monday: 9:00am - 11:30pm Friday: 9:00am - 12:00am
Tuesday: 9:00am - 11:30pm Saturday: 9:00am - 12:00am
Wednesday: 9:00am - 11:30pm Sunday: 9:00am - 10:30pm
Thursday: 9:00am - 12:00am    

Additional Information

  • Cuisine Type: British
  • Average Price: £20.00
  • Dress Code: Casual
  • Group: Ben's Canteen

Ben's Canteen Hire Details

Ben’s Canteen serves British food, done well, in an informal and relaxed environment.

All of the Canteen can be hired for a fully bespoke dinner, drinks and canapes or you can just takeover an area.

Updated 25/04/2012

Name: Bar
Type: Restricted Area
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 0 / Min Bar Spend: £ 0
Options: Food Available, Seating Available,
DJ: None
Capacity: 50
Notes: You can hire the front section of the Canteen for an informal drinks party (we can also serve British canapes)
Name: Ben's Canteen
Type: Entire Venue
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 0 / Min Bar Spend: £ 0
Options: Food Available, Seating Available,
DJ: None
Capacity: 100
Notes: The whole of Ben's Canteen can be hired for your special occasion. We can serve drinks, canapes and even a full sit down dinner. We will tailor it to ensure your event is a huge success.
Name: Dining Room
Type: Restricted Area
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 0 / Min Bar Spend: £ 0
Options: Food Available, Seating Available,
DJ: None
Capacity: 50
Notes: You can hire the whole dining room area at the Canteen an enjoy bespoke menus tailored to your budget.

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Venue ID: 22922

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