Kentish Canteen – Kentish Town

Reviewed on December 20th, 2014 by Dina

Arriving at Kentish Canteen on a Sunday for a friend’s birthday, it was jam packed. An eye catching collage on one of the walls was a great feature. Various breakfasts and lunches were being brought out as we waited in the entrance for the table.

There were salads and cakes on open display right where the customers were asked to queue for a vacant table. This meant that people were basically having their coats and clothes touching the open food as the customers were leaning on the display table. It is a shame as the food looked fresh and if it had been covered, it would have been a lot better.

Kentish CanteenKentish Canteen SmoothieKentish Canteen Collage WallKentish Canteen Food DisplayKentish Canteen Veggie Bean BurgerKentish Canteen Interior

The Tropical Popical smoothie was a thick fruity concoction of passionfruit, papaya, mango and pineapple. The Veggie Bean Burger with all its sides was presented on a wooden platter and there was enough to share between two people. The bean burger was dense and the bun had a brioche taste to it.

The skin on chunky chips were very moreish. The combination of sides went well together with the tasty bean burger. The sides included sweetcorn with star anise and coleslaw. A small dish of button mushrooms was also added to complete this filling meal.

The dining area was made up of wooden tables, chairs and some cushioned seating. The staff seemed to be rushed off their feet which resulted in the service been a bit hit and miss at times. A few times we had asked the staff for things and we had to ask again after a while. On a couple of occasions, even by the end of the meal, the requests had not been met.

Kentish Canteen does stock the local Kentishtowner newspaper and also did seem a popular place with the locals.

Kentish Canteen, 300 Kentish Town Road, Kentish Town, London, NW5 2TG

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Cafe in the Crypt, St Martin-in-the-Fields – Trafalgar Square

Reviewed on February 24th, 2013 by Dina

A lovely Saturday afternoon visiting the National Gallery with my friend involved introducing her toddler to the wonderful painting of Whistlejacket. This huge oil on canvas painting of the young horse by George Stubbs is one of my favourites and always seems to impress me, no matter how many times I see it!

Following on from George Stubbs’ painting, we ventured onto see the beautiful Water-Lily Pond and other paintings by Monet. A visit to the National Gallery would not be complete if Monet’s paintings were not seen! We were lucky on this occasion as the National Gallery had two new acquisitions, Water Lillies, Setting Sun and The Japanese Bridge. Monet’s Impressionist paintings of his garden in Giverny are really special!

After our fun art filled afternoon, it was time to rest and go for a cup of tea. My friend suggested the nearby Cafe in the Crypt in St Martin-in-the-Fields. The cafe is below the church and can be accessed by the cylindrical pavilion entrance, just round the corner from the church.

Cafe in the CryptCafe in the Crypt TeaCafe in the Crypt Interior

Cafe in the Crypt is quite a striking cafe. The distinctive brick walls and arches make up this beautiful 18th century crypt. It is quite a large cafe and even when it is busy, there is a sort of peacefulness about it. This is helped by the soft lighting.

There is a selection of food on offer, all locally sourced where possible. Soup, hot food, sandwiches, salads, afternoon tea, hot puddings and cakes are all available. The hot food and the cakes are buffet style, but the thing that I liked was that it was served and not self service.

As we were here for tea, that is what we had. Although, I was tempted by the scone with clotted cream and jam! The pot of tea came as a little silver teapot with a jug of milk on the side. It was nice that the cups were more like the size of a mug!

Even though there is quite a lot of seating, the staff do make the effort to keep things clean. They are constantly cleaning and clearing up the tables, so that the cafe is well maintained.

To get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, escaping to the tranquil Cafe in the Crypt is perfect. This is a hidden gem in the capital! Cafe in the Crypt is also host to Jazz Nights on particular weeknights.

Cafe in the Crypt, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 4JJ

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Waterloo Bar and Kitchen – Waterloo

Reviewed on October 26th, 2012 by Dina

When a friend of mine was going to be going out of the country for many months, it just wouldn’t have been right if we didn’t go for a leaving lunch!

Waterloo Bar and Kitchen had an old sort of feel to it. Its dark wooden furniture, black panelled walls and some booth cushioned seating made up the dining area. The back of the restaurant is where the open kitchen was. There is always something good about being able to see the food being prepared and made. There was also a small bar area.

There was a good range of food on the menu. As it was a cold day, it felt like the meal should be started off with soup. The soup of the day was Vegetable Soup. It was a fairly big bowl of soup and I couldn’t finish it all. The soup was tasty but was also spicy. I am not sure if it was due to chilli or pepper.

Waterloo Bar and Kitchen InteriorWaterloo Bar and Kitchen Vegetable SoupWaterloo Bar and Kitchen Interior 2Waterloo Bar and Kitchen HalibutWaterloo Bar and KitchenWaterloo Bar and Kitchen SteakWaterloo Bar and Kitchen Orange Creme BruleeWaterloo Bar and Kitchen Interior 3Waterloo Bar and Kitchen Frangipane TartWaterloo Bar and Kitchen 2 InteriorWaterloo Bar and Kitchen 2 Crab MayonnaiseWaterloo Bar and Kitchen 2 Interior 2Waterloo Bar and Kitchen 2 Wild Mushroom RisottoWaterloo Bar and Kitchen 2 Grilled Scottish SalmonWaterloo Bar and Kitchen 2 Roast Herb Crusted CodWaterloo Bar and Kitchen 2 Scottish Salmon and Crushed PotatoesWaterloo Bar and Kitchen 2 Pan Fried Halloumi and Mediterrean VegetablesWaterloo Bar and Kitchen 2 Tarte Tartin

For the main lunch, the Pan Roasted Halibut was great. It was served with fondant potato and saffron creamed leeks. The halibut was soft and moist. It would have been better if the skin had been crispy. The fondant potato was just the right amount of potato for the dish. The saffron flavour really came through in the sauce of the leeks.

My friend had the Squid and Chorizo Salad with chilli, garlic and coriander dressing. He was happy with how the squid was cooked. It was tender and not rubbery. The only thing was that the squid was bland. This was because all of the dressing for the salad was on the bottom of the plate. It felt like the dressing had been put into the bowl, then the salad leaves and then the squid and chorizo. Basically, the dressing had not been mixed with the salad items.

The Chargrilled Rib-Eye Steak that my friend had was a good meal. The meat had been cooked as he had wanted it. It came with fries and a little pot of peppercorn sauce.

Although the starters at Waterloo Bar and Kitchen were not up to scratch, the main dishes and the desserts certainly made up for it! Talking of desserts, my friend suggested that we should complete our meal with this!

It is always difficult for me to choose something else whenever I see Fruit Crumble and Custard on the menu. But I resisted this time and decided to try the Pear and Frangipane Tart. This was a lovely dessert. A slice of warm almondy pie with pear served with vanilla ice cream. It was a yummy dessert and hit the spot just right!

The dessert on the specials board was Orange Creme Brulee and my friend chose this. It had the classic caramelised top and a creamy filling. My friend was happy with this dessert!

The staff were really great, friendly and very attentive. At every stage of our meal, they did ask if everything was okay. Even though I had only stated some dietary requirements on my starter, the staff checked with me if the ingredients in all my other dishes were okay with me. This was done without me asking and he also checked things again with the chef.

The service at Waterloo Bar and Kitchen felt very personal. At the end of the meal, the staff asked us if we had enjoyed the food.  It was nice that when we mentioned the couple of points about the dishes, he took note and said that he would pass our comments onto the kitchen.

Waterloo Bar and Kitchen, 131 Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8UR

Rating: ★★★★☆

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