Ben’s Canteen

By ruthg
140 St John's Hill, SW11 1SL
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Ben’s Canteen lies in an area with fierce competition. We lost count of nail bars in the neighbourhood – a sure indication locals here are accustomed to being pampered. There’s a healthy crowd of people here even on a weeknight so there’s reason to call ahead – other than the discount on booked tables. In summer it’s a half inside, half out on the street, kind of affair– suitably relaxed and decadent. The new concept burger menu has seen this established local haunt up its game. Looking beyond predictable London formulas of heavy meat-fest with kitsch American touches, their concept is to make food and wine pairing more accessible with burger and wine combos that surprise and amuse. Playfulness is a running theme, even when ordering the staple cheeseburger expect the unexpected – paired with a white Pinot G. rather than a tried and tested red, this unapologetically tangy number sets off the meat beautifully. Combos like the ‘Posh Fried Chicken’ and cheeky glass of Mumm champagne, or the ‘Hawaiian pineapple Fritter and pulled pork’, coupled with Malbec, have been balanced with a skill that should reassure even timid orderers. Never fear lovers of the classics, there’s still heaps of pickles and a big-in the-game burger sauce with which to smear your sweet potato fries.