Rochelle Canteen is in our ultimate top 3-favourite restaurants in London. The chef who runs it is Margot Henderson, wife of Fergus Henderson who owns St John’s bread and wine. Vogue columnist Raven Smith lovingly refers to the unpretentious offering as ‘school dinners for adults, remarkable for their un-remarkableness.’
The fine ingredients, considered seasonal menu and the atmosphere really are remarkable and attract a young, unpretentious Shoreditch crowd. Five of us went for Sunday lunch for Ollie’s birthday which is the best time to go. They also do a brilliant breakfast.
The restaurant is a hidden gem, it’s always felt like a place for people ‘in the know’, a foodies secret even though it’s been open for more than 10-years. It’s set in the canteen of a primary school located on the back streets of Shoreditch (Arnold Circus). If it’s your first time it might take you a while to spot the entry door and buzzer, it’s unassuming and actually the perfect hideaway. Once you’re buzzed in you have to walk through a small, well-kept garden to reach the restaurant. It’s an oasis of calm, away from the buzzy Shoreditch streets. They also have tables set outside, which is perfect for now.
The main restaurant itself is tiny, with just ten tables. It’s not prissy or pretentious. It used to be a BYO but it isn’t anymore, they have a small but well-formed wine list, classic French wines. We were celebrating so we started with a bottle of Champagne.
We always like to try as many dishes as we can, so to start we had duck pate with grilled sourdough and cornichons – that dish is a 10/10.
We had sweet grilled tropea onions and goats cheese on toast with fresh mint, which is the perfect combination of salty and sweet; plus a flavour-full tomato, borlotti bean and Iberico ham soup. The food is simple British food done so very well, what more could you want?
We had a ‘middle dish’…of course…it would be rude not to; braised Cuttlefish, with fennel and alioli.
And for dinner we all had chicken pie with buttered jersey potatoes and a very nice bottle of Pinot Noir.
Rochelle Canteen is a female lead and run restaurant, it has such a relaxed vibe, the waitresses are really cool they wear what they want and they know lots about food and wine.
We had all three of the desserts, poached pears with praline. The Seville orange marmalade tart was a bit too sharp for us, we aren’t marmalade fans. Is anyone under 55 a marmalade fan?
The highlight was the caramel ice cream and shortbread – if you hadn’t realised yet, we are suckers for caramel ice cream. It’s our favourite.
The perfect Sunday feasting.
Good portions, a perfect atmosphere and very reasonable prices for the quality. It’s on average £50 a head.