‘Convent’ Garden was the 13th century kitchen garden of the Abbey of St Peter, Westminster.
In 1630 the Duke of Bedford commissioned Inigo Jones to build houses ‘fit for the habitations of gentleman’. Inspired by trips to Italy, he created Covent Garden Piazza – the first open square in England.
Market stalls have been trading in the area since the mid-17th century. When the fire of London destroyed smaller markets, it became the most important fruit, veg and flower market in the country.
In 1973 the market was relocated to Nine Elms and Covent Garden faced demolition. It was saved by campaigners, and is now a lively area of shops and theatres.
Canteen, Covent Garden is in a prime spot, directly under the Lyceum Theatre and opposite Waterloo Bridge.
The bar at the front is a light, pleasant space, with victorian-style encaustic floor-tiles and zinc-topped counter.
This leads into a larger dining room. The ‘canteen’ theme is evident in long shared tables and bent plywood chairs from school dining halls.
The menu is based on British home-cooking; Roasts, pies, fish fingers and mashed potato. Londoners are used to going for an Indian, Italian or Thai, but beyond the local greasy spoon, it is quite a novelty to go for an English.
I ordered a pot of English Breakfast tea – perfect with my toast and Marmite. The tea is from Teapigs, who use whole leaf tea in silky ‘tea-temples’. Also on offer was Earl grey, mao feng green, peppermint, chamomile and rooibos.
Tea-time snacks include Victoria sponge cake, scones with jam and – for us marmite lovers – Twiglets. Canteen also do afternoon tea – ‘Tea for Two’ with sandwiches and cake.
It is good to see this kind of food presented in a fresh way. Canteen is a great place for a cuppa in Covent Garden. And not a lumpy custard in sight.
|Price of a Cuppa :||£1.95|
|Leaf or Bag :||Teapigs leaf in ‘tea temple’ (silky teabag)|
|Crockery :||White China and aluminium teapot/milk jug|
|Food :||Classic British fare updated.
Sample menus: Food, Drinks, (PDF)
|Kitty says:||Enjoyed my tea, toast and scones very much|
Canteen Covent Garden
21 Wellington Street
Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7DN
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