I've been meaning to write about this place for a while now and finally today I was given a good excuse to edit all the photos and put this post together! In celebration of Ben's birthday, I present you Ben's Canteen, a lovely café in Battersea.
Ben's Canteen is on St. John's Hill, a residential street near Clapham Junction and Northcote Road that has recently seen the opening of many nice pubs and restaurants, such as the Birdhouse, the Fishclub, the Plough and Artisan & Vine.
"Ben’s Canteen intends to be a great little neighbourhood venue, aiming to help people enjoy where they live that little bit more." That's what I was looking for: a small community, a place that you can just pop in on a lazy Sunday afternoon to read a book* or (in my case) to edit photographs on my laptop.
I first heard about Ben's Canteen on Twitter and after looking at the stunning photos on their blog (taken by Sarah Legge and Ben Knight) I decided to pay it a visit! The staff is nice and friendly, the space is big and bright and the food is delicious!
The first time I visited the Ben's Canteen was during a weekend in November to try their brunch menu. The café was buzzing with young people and families. I was with my fiancé and we had to wait a few minutes at the bar before getting a seat at a big communal table by the entrance. I had soy cappuccino and English breakfast and stayed there for hours working on my computer (free wi-fi, yeah)! It was a happy day!
I went back last week on a gloomy rainy afternoon between Christmas and NYE. It was 5pm and the canteen was very quiet, getting ready for the dinner slot. We sheltered from a rainstorm and warmed up with hot chocolate and delicious carrot cake.
Only later I found out that the cake was from the hands of The Dessert Deli, no wonder it was so good! I discovered Laura Amos' cakes through Twitter and tried them for the first time at the Chocolate Festival last month (more on that soon!); she's a Clapham-based baker so it only makes sense that she's catering for Ben's Canteen, which prouds itself for working with smaller and local suppliers!
The Canteen has recently hired a new chef, launched Sunday Roast and organized an Afternoon Tea party (definitely keeping this idea in mind for my birthday party!). My wish for Ben is that the Canteen will keep growing and maintain its success in 2012 while retaining a relaxed and village feel!
*Speaking about books, there is a "Free Book Exchange" at the back of the Canteen where you can leave your old books and choose new ones to take home! Love it! :)