Spitalfields is a London neighborhood with a dual personality. It borders the financial district, but walk 10 minutes to the east and you hit deprived public-housing projects. The area's focal point is Spitalfields market, founded in 1887 and still going strong, in part
Among the new arrivals, only the restaurant Canteen might appeal to both the bohemian crowd and financial folk. "Is this a chain?" asked my Friday lunch companion. Not yet, but it's easy to imagine blond wood and tweedy green-upholstered clones being assembled out of flat packs across the land. Canteen offers freshly executed traditional British fare macaroni and cheese, meat pies and all-day breakfasts served with a mission statement that boasts of the kitchen's organic and local sourcing.
There is a Fast Service menu for those who can only flee their desk for an hour, but we chose comfort food: a skillet of creamy baked eggs with undyed smoked haddock and spring onion, and a chicken-and-tarragon pie with mashed potatoes, greens and gravy. For dessert, we shared the strangely satisfying chocolate-and-beetroot cake. The service was friendly and efficient. But when I returned on a Sunday, the clientele was dressed down, and the staff moved at a far more leisurely pace. Sure beats the office canteen, though.canteen.co.uk