After many years of boring my friends about wanting to open a restaurant bar and having been inspired by colleagues at VICE who were always putting together cool stuff, I decided to take the plunge and open Ben's Canteen.
My aim was to create an alternative to the pub. I absolutely love going to the pub, especially for an all dayer or a boozy Sunday lunch, however, sometimes you just want that same relaxed spirit but not in a pub. Where to go in SW London? I was never sure.
I also wanted somewhere local to go for brunch. These days there are a lot of good options but back then there really weren't so many. Basically I was jealous of what my friends Down Under were having, with their great coffee, and wanted in on the action.
So, I decided to set up Ben's Canteen, a relaxed neighbourhood hangout that does Dinner, cracking Cocktails and exciting Wines and then come the weekend, a really indulgent Brunch with banging Bloody Marys.
It took me a year and half from deciding to do it to actually opening the doors on St John's Hill in Clapham Junction. I cobbled together the bare minimum from friends and family and I am eternally grateful for the faith they showed in me. A little later, I pushed my luck again and asked them to help set up a second Ben's Canteen, this time in Earlsfield - cheers guys!
Along the way we have made plenty of mistakes but I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you, our lovely customers, for your support and, on occasion, perseverance. My team are always working to get better and we have plenty of exciting and tasty plans which we can't wait to share with you over the coming weeks, months and hopefully years.
In the meantime, indulge, hang out and have fun.