I’m saving my money for The Canteen
The Canteen, one of Wellington’s newest cafe/restaurant types, is happily cruising into its fifth week on Bond Street. Which I’ll have you know is no longer a thoroughfare and with Pandoro Bakery about to open on the corner, it looks like it’s going to be the new College Street.
I’m just going to put it out there straight away. I like The Canteen. I really, really like it. It has a great atmosphere, where I feel very relaxed and at home. I almost wish I’d brought my slippers along. The café proudly caters for a wide audience – I go for lunch by myself and while there I spot a young couple, a father daughter combo and a business meeting.
The lunch menu is impressive. Think soups, salads and sandwiches, but with unusual ingredients and interesting surprises. The menu is split into “hot” and “cold”, an unusual quirk, but I can see the benefits, it seems to speed up the selection ceremony and minimise post order food envy.
“Cold” boasts enticing options like the grilled eggplant, beetroot hummus and feta sandwich. From “hot” you will find warming treats such as a hot brisket, red wine gravy and horseradish sandwich or ham hock and split yellow pea soup. Acknowledging the fanfare over current “it” foods, The Canteen offers up not one, but two quinoa options for even the most hardcore quinoa devotee. For this reason, I’m glad I didn’t bring my boyfriend along, who obnoxiously refers to anything quinoa related as “mung bean pie”.
The food is a clear reflection of Roy McFarlane, who is not only the owner, but also the chef, and the front of house. He aims to serve up the freshest food available and says he serves his diners the sort of thing he and his wife would have for lunch on a Saturday (why do they never invite me?).
The Canteen uses coffee roasters, The Immigrants Son which you can find straight from the source on Elizabeth Street. And speaking of coffee, no one at The Canteen is going to smirk at you for ordering anything trim, soy or chocolate flavoured. This pleases me, as I’m forever scarred after an experience where a barista laughed in my face when I ordered a trim latte.
The interior is a McFarlane creation, from the furniture made by Roy himself, to the interesting art that graces the walls, (some for sale, some not) countered by a decent collection of vintage mirrors Roy found in the Petone op shops (which, by the way, are well worth checking out).
The Canteen also offers breakfast and a licensed dinner service Thursday through Saturday.
Nothing like your high school tuck shop, The Canteen is very cool and very tasty.