Ben’s Canteen is the go-to hangout for Battersea locals. It’s a buzzing neighbourhood restaurant - though diners are prepared to queue - popular for dinner, lazy lunches, and brunches that begin with a cocktail. The burgers are as epic as the owner (Ben), who set out to create a relaxed alternative to a pub and has definitely succeeded. I popped in on a warm spring evening to find out the secret to their success…
Ben’s Canteen is based at the bottom of St John’s Hill, a short stroll from Clapham Junction station. It’s cool, contemporary and understated in looks, with fully retractable front windows so diners can enjoy the cool breeze and warm glow during summer evenings, while watching the world go by. The place is packed and there’s a distinct neighbourhood feel. Tables are chatting to one another, and there’s a huddle of people on the benches outside sipping on prosecco and fighting over DIY nachos.
We take the window seat and enjoy the breeze and natter from outside as we scan the menu. It’s certainly imaginative. For starters diners can choose Spiced Duck Nuggets with Asian spices and served with a BBQ, honey, lemon, sesame and soy sauce dip, or tuck into Ben’s Epic Scotch Egg. They've also given the sommelier treatment to their HUGE burger range, and matched them all with exciting wines, like Moko Black Pinot Noir with the Salad Dodger (see above), Middle of Everywhere Shiraz with the Bacon Double Cheese and Champagne with our Posh Fried Chicken Burger.
We decide to go straight for mains, and go for the Satay Chicken Burger with Asian Slaw, and the Warm Kale Caesar Salad with Halloumi. The burger list was endless, including the likes of the Salad Dodger, (8oz umami laden aged beef patty, pulled pork, bacon, nduja, American cheese, onion ring, mustard and BC BBQ sauce), and the Surf & Turf Burger, (umami laden aged beef patty topped with smoked cheese, house burger sauce and crispy prawns, chorizo and jalapenos).
Our waitress was friendly and quick to bring us our prosecco (at a reasonable £5 a glass). Our food came shortly afterwards, and we couldn't help but reach for our phones to take a photo for Instagram. The burger was sky-high and came with the most delicious potato fries, which were made from fresh, hand-cut, skin-on Desiree potatoes. The salad was a delicious compliment to the burger, decorated with edible purple and yellow flowers, and light and tasty with crunchy croutons, salty, warm halloumi and flavoursome kale.
As we were finishing our drinks the table next to us were presented with Doctor’s DIY Doughnuts - mini doughnuts that you can dose up with chocolate sauce, strawberry jam and maple and vanilla custard through mini syringes! The perfect excuse for a return visit!
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