Kentish Canteen – Best Cheap Eats In North London?

by timchester

The Kentish Canteen may only be eight months old but it shot straight into The Guardian’s North London Budget Restaurants list last month. And if their crab, lemon and chili linguine at £6.50 for a small bowl is anything to go by it’s a throughly deserved accolade. Spicy and zingy (yes, zingy) and packing more crab than ten of L’Anima’s version it’s probably the best main course under a tenner I’ve had this year. Well, definitely the best main course under seven quid.

kentishcanteencrab

We booked in last Saturday lunchtime (again, it must be said, via a PR) and nestled ourselves among North Londoners of every age from screamo baby to gibbering pensioner and surveyed the scene. The cafe boasts, shall we say, one man’s meat decor – the walls are adorned with department store art celebrating Kentish Town as some kind of destination and the welcome table is bedecked with an extreme cross-section of food (from cookies to brownies to peppers to onions to croissants to garlic to sunflowers) that makes it look like a Habitat show kitchen. But it’s very homely. Slates advertise homemade raspberry ripple ice cream and waitresses act like siblings or best friends.

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We rampaged through three hours of mid-sized mains, sharing plates, starters and sides and unearthed very few duds. Highlights were piquant thai fishcakes, a simple yet devastating greek salad (the usual suspects thrown together in generous chunks), a nanjing black rice salad, milky mochas and the most moreish fresh mint tea I’ve had in aeons. Low points centred around a soup offered chilled then brought warm and asparagus, which was cooked well, but needed something with it.

With almost everything clocking in at three to six quid, though, such quibbling seems churlish – they could get away with adding on a good 30% should they ever start feeling a bit Fred Goodwin.

Kentish Canteen Thai Fishcakes

Best cheap eats in North London? It’s definitely a heavyweight contender.

Price per head: £10-15
Clientele:
Website

{ 2 trackbacks }

The Best And Worst London Restaurants Of 2011
December 20, 2011 at 9:39 am
Kentish Canteen Reviews
February 4, 2012 at 12:03 pm

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Krista June 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm

I got invited to dine here, even though I don’t live in London anymore. So I’m curious…did you pay or did the PR cover you?

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timchester June 7, 2011 at 11:07 pm

PR covered… although I did disclaim that at the top…

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Mzungu June 6, 2011 at 7:16 pm

I’m gutted that everyone seems to be getting the linguine. Gutted. When we went it was sold out.

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timchester June 7, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Worth a return visit…

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Kate Wyn Jones June 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I beg to differ, the menu is low in price but has no real direction or core identity more a mish mash of dishes collected from various Mediterranean and gastro menus. On my visit the staff lacked any real knowledge or passion for the food they were cooking, our waiter had to be prompted as to how rare the steak should be cooked and couldn’t give much insight into other dishes. The baked aubergine was very tasty though.

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