2 Crispin Place
0845 686 1122
by Cathy Latte
On certain Monday Mornings, when the week stretches ahead like an assault course from Takehashi’s Castle, a breakfast that’s anything short of exceptional could prove disastrous. So it was with dry mouths and racing hearts that Malcolm Eggs and myself took a gamble on the highly praised Canteen restaurant, which recently opened and sits between idiosyncratic Old Spitalfields Market and modern, city-facing Bishops Square. If Hopper were to have painted ‘Nighthawks’ in 2005, albeit against a backdrop of an East London shopping development, then it would have looked like Canteen. Floor-to-ceiling goldfish-bowl windows lined with fuzzyfelt green booths plus central communal bench seating makes the place look lifted straight from the pages of Wallpaper magazine.
On arrival we were greeted with luminous smiles from achingly attractive staff. We plumped for crumpets and marmalade, Cumberland sausage and roast onion sandwich, two pots of tea each and – as a cavalier extra – fresh ginger, carrot and apple juices.
Malcolm is very particular about his crumpets and to his relief the ones served here were suitably firm and the accompanying marmalade homemade. As for the sandwich, the natural-skinned sausages were translucent and succulent and the onions were plentiful, all served aloft a tasty toasted loaf. For all day breakfast lovers and those with a propensity for rising late there’s good news in the fact that breakfast is served from morning until close. But if the late rising is a symptom of studenthood or unemployment, there’s bad news in the form of the price. Our modest little breakfast (inc.12.5% service) cost £23! As we rummaged reluctantly for our credit cards we noted over furrowed brows that whilst super it was a breakfast most definitely reserved for the start of the month.