Ben’s Canteen, Battersea

Ben's Canteen, Battersea Ben's Canteen, Battersea

[dropcap]R[/dropcap]eal talk, on Sunday night I had the best cheese burger that I’ve ever had in my entire life. I’m serious. I’m so so serious. I’d eat it over and over and over again. It was fantastic. And where did I try this little slice of heaven? You guessed it. Ben’s Canteen, Battersea.

Ben’s Canteen is one of those really cool places. Y’know the type? Lightbulbs and benches and staff that make you feel like you’re the coolest person in the world, and are welcome back any time. I can see myself heading down there with a bunch of cool friends for brunch and maybe writing up the odd blog post while watching the cars stream past outside in the rain.

So anyway, Ollie and I went down to Ben’s to review their special burger and wine combo menu. Basically, every night from 5pm they serve the most amazing gourmet burgers with a wine specifically chosen to match. It’s really bloody cool.

Have I mentioned how cool it is?

Anyway, let me run through the evening like a story, so I can tell you all about each little bit.

When we arrived we were greeted super warmly and led to a table right in the window, and in front of the amazing glowing red heart chalk board that you can find a snap of down below. We were given an explanation of the entire menu, from memory, and left to peruse for our starters and drinks. I settled on a coconut water, Ollie went for a virgin mojito, and we chose to share a plate of the duck nuggets to start.

Bloody hell, okay, but those nuggets were amazing. Like, y’know how amazing chicken nuggets are? Double it and then double it again. They even came with a massive dipping bowl of hoisin sauce and oh my goodness me! Heaven on a plate. I almost wish we’d ordered two now. Three?

Ben's Canteen, Battersea Ben's Canteen, Battersea Ben's Canteen, Battersea Ben's Canteen, Battersea

And then onto the burgers. We were there to try out the mini burger selection, with accompanying wines, as well as choosing another burger from the main burger menu.

The three burgers on the mini burger board were: the Cheese Burger, Posh Fried Chicken, and The Hawaiian. Accompanying them were a gorgeous Pinot Gris, a champagne, and a chilled Pinot Noir respectively. I’ll quickly run through them, one by one, to give you the low down.

As I say, the cheese burger was the best I’ve ever had. The cheese properly melted into the burger, instead of being a cheese on a burger kind of deal, and it’s just fantastic. Honestly, I couldn’t fault it. I’ll be back again and again for the cheeseburger alone.

The Posh Fried Chicken was also amazing – I think if I were to order a large burger again it would probably be this one. It was a gorgeous piece of buttermilk fried chicken breast with bacon and slaw and boy was it sublime. I’m almost annoyed that I had to give Ollie some of it to try, but whatever. Apparently it’s a bit of a people’s favourite too. They took it off the menu for a few weeks and there was a public outcry and letter writing campaign so… you can imagine it’s a pretty special burger.

Finally, Ollie’s favourite, the pulled pork and pineapple ring Hawaiian burger. It was pretty intense and also pretty delicious. Such an original concept for a burger and so brilliantly executed. While perhaps a bit much for me for a whole, normal sized burger, it was absolutely stunning as a slider. Ollie was all over it.

As for the wines, I was actually pretty impressed with them (and mainly myself). I know nothing about wines and how they pair with things and what they’re meant to taste like, and even I found myself thinking ‘oh my god this goes so nicely with this burger!’ It’s such a fun concept (and you get a glass of champagne…) and as someone that rarely drinks it’s safe to say that I was pretty tipsy by the time it came to ordering dessert. If you love burgers and wine, I can’t recommend the mini menu enough. So much thought went into each combination, and each was explained to us so perfectly, that it would be a shame to order anything but!

Ben's Canteen, Battersea Ben's Canteen, Battersea Ben's Canteen, Battersea

On top of those three delights, we also chose the Awesome Veggie Burger – a sweet potato, spring onion & harissa patty with garlic mayo and pickled red onions. I love sweet potato burgers and actually posted a recipe for my own last summer, so this was the obvious choice to us. As you can see from the photo up there, it looked pretty darn good, and was a nice change from the meat of the other three burgers. It was also bloody delicious. Normally I find that some sweet potato burgers can be quite bland or mushy, and this was neither of those things. An absolute gem, and definitely worth it if the burger/wine thing isn’t your jam.

I’m going to take this moment to talk about how amazing every single member of staff were that evening. Really and truly. In fact, it’s genuinely one of the best experiences I’ve had at a restaurant. They were so warm and friendly and took their time to chat to you about each course and gave their own recommendations. It was a delight to see everyone so passionate about the food and drink that they were serving and was super refreshing in a place as grumpy as London. After each course they asked us which our favourites were and I wish I could have chatted all night, to be honest. They knew everything about what they had on offer and it was just great.

Ben's Canteen, Battersea Ben's Canteen, Battersea Ben's Canteen, Battersea Ben's Canteen, Battersea

Dessert did not disappoint either. In fact, it was really bloody fun. While I ordered the gluten free peanut butter chocolate brownie (with pb ice cream), Ollie chose the ‘Doctor’s DIY Doughnuts’ – the lovely waitress recommended them with the phrase ‘the presentation is just amazing’ so I don’t think we even looked at the menu…

The brownie was everything you’d hope a brownie to be, and despite being super full I managed to eat every last bite.

The real MVPs, however, were the doughnut bites and the three syringes of jam, custard and chocolate sauce that came with them. Honestly, could this place get any cooler? We had so much fun mixing and matching flavours and trying and failing not to be too messy and make fools of ourselves. It’s just such a fun idea, and so different to your standard knife and fork food. You interact with it and feel a lot more satisfied, having kind of made it a little bit yourself. Okay, I’m being a little pretentious now. It’s also worth noting that for each order, 50p from each one sold will be donated to the Wandsworth Food Bank.

I’ll be heading back to Ben’s Canteen in a heartbeat. When I come back down for Christmas, and have to pass through Clapham, it’ll be no1 on my list for sure. They’re already advertising their Christmas menu, and AMAZING sounding Christmas burger so I have no excuse at all to not go back.

Oh and their brunch menu also looks amazing with things like banana pancakes and a pulled pork eggs benedict and fancy brunch cocktails. Just FYI.

It really was an absolute treat, and Ollie and I skipped back to Clapham Junction as two happy campers. Thanks so much to Ben’s Canteen for having us and keeping us well looked after. It was an absolute delight!

Ben's Canteen, Battersea

This post was written in collaboration with Ben’s Canteen. All photos, words and opinions are my own.


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