Eat Here: Canteen, St Agnes
At this laidback North Cornwall lunch spot, expect a simple menu, an amazing community feel and the best feed you've ever had for a fiver!
The English countryside is scattered with homey cafes serving soup of the day and carrot cake at pine tables. But if you like your dining experiences with a bit more imagination, you’re going to love this place.
Canteen is housed in a small and surprisingly inviting industrial unit at Wheal Kitty Workshops in St Agnes. The one-time tin mining site is a stone’s throw from the rugged, North Cornwall coast and is also home to fellow Cornish brands Finisterre, Walters Surfboards and environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage.
The new HQ of dining experience company Woodfired Canteen, owners Ben and Sam Quinn don’t actually call Canteen a café – that would be way too obvious. Their new space serves as a prep kitchen, as well as a shared workspace-meets-social hub that also serves up colourful, wholesome – and incredibly bargainous – lunches every week day. Seriously, you have got to go… what that man can’t do with a Brussels sprout!
On the minimal menu, you’ll find just two dishes: one meat, one veggie and both only a fiver. They also serve coffee and cake (including to-die-for cinnamon buns from Da Bara) but any other drinks are BYO. How refreshing is that? Really, I don’t want loads of choice… there’s enough to think about in life isn’t there? And you can feel 100% confident leaving the food choices to Ben.
To whet your appetite, check out their Instagram feed (@canteencornwall) for daily pictures of Canteen’s menus and meals. Braised beans, burnt leeks, mozzarella and really good olive oil? Yaaas! Hot smoked mackerel, sweet pickled beets and roasted Cornish mid potatoes with rosemary salt? Hit me up!
If you haven’t come across Woodfired Canteen before, they do the best wedding spreads and food-centred events around, both in gorgeous locations in Cornwall and beyond and now at their home in St Agnes. It’s not about sumptuous feast nights for the in crowd. Ben and Sam’s mantra (and wifi code) is ‘good people, good food’ and their laidback events are both sensibly priced and really welcoming.
In the coming months, they have loads of fun planned, from Sunday brunches and flash feeds, where you pay what your meal is worth to you, to Cook Together, Eat Together days, Canteen’s take on a cookery course. These sell out quickly, so sign up to the mailing list to hear about them first.
Now who’s up for a good feed?
Canteen, Wheal Kitty Workshops, St Agnes, Cornwall. Canteencornwall.com
All images by Mat Arney of Hailer Media