It is in the Royal William Yard (converted historic naval base) with sea views across to Mount Edgcumb, so before I even got into the Canteen I knew it would be great, I think it probably has the best view of all the buildings situation there, even in the brisk windy weather.
I have been very lucky to go as it does not open until next week, I think on 15th Nov? next week anyway. They are holding preview services this week, i guess for us to be guinea pigs for the staff who are all new I think.
There was a great buzz and it was very busy, the food was lovely, very affordable, it was good homecooked type fare, generous portions and, well lets just say I was glad of the sea walk back to the car afterwards! I had the Beetroot soup which is in HFWs 'Everyday' book, not sure what I was expecting but it was perfect for this weather, followed by a swede and goatscheese Speltotti, which was like a risotto made with spelt flour, a lot of it too! My friend who accompanied me is complete carnivore had Cornish muscles for starter followed by Braised Lamb with celeriac and potato mash, she has a bit apetite and ate the lot (she may well come along and give you her verdict on it too...)
Pudding, chocolate and beetroot brownie for me and an Orange (i think it was orange) Possett with chocolate cookies!!!!!!! [Mmmmmmm]
It was much more like a restuarant than I expected, I had images of sharing tables with strangers (which I would not have minded) and all being huddled together with bright lights! But, i suspect that while if busy and spaces calls for it, table sharing might happen, my dining partner and I had our own table with a sea view! Lighting and environment was spot on and I loved seeing the chefs at work and the wood fired oven in the middle of the kitchen! The staff looked like they were having fun!
I enjoyed not having to wear a lovely frock (i don't have one!) but felt it would have been fine to wear one without looking out of place. I also think that day time dining may have a very different feel, perhaps with the hussle of in and out quickly, children and business staff popping in. I shall let you know how that is after my next visit on saturday wth the children
I feel very lucky to have gone already and think this is going to be a great venture for Plymouth, I suspect I at least will become known there
So, if you want to come and visit me, you know where I will be taking you
We went into the Axminster one, gawped at the menu, decided to eat lunch at the (cute, cheap) 50's diner round the corner... I'd love to eat there but it was a tad too pricey to be styled as a 'cantina' (or whatever he calls it).
really? oh you missed out! I thought it was affordable, but I guess that is relative isn't it? £8-12 for a main is not bad at all, esp consdering how much pubs charge for their reheated offerings these days. Although I need to see what the £8.00 canteen breakfast includes...
Although it is canteen in name, I really do think that is more around the atmosphere, seating, ability to get up and browse the deli, and most importantly the simple nature of the food, it is not poncy but it is fabulously cooked and locally sourced and there was a surprisingly large amount of it, so it would be realistic to have a main only and feel you have eaten plenty, which increases the value for money imo. That is a huge plus for me, as Plymouth has amazing locally produced goods that simply do not get celebrated enough. If you ever get the change again, just do it, even if you just have a main, so you can taste the food.
We eat at a cafe/restaurant that sounds like this when we go to Glastonbury. I agree it's not cheap, it is in that 'bit more expensive but SO worth it' category. When I am considering whether to buy something I always ask myself, 'Is it worth missing out on having a Meal at 100 Monkeys?'
I am a greedy bugger though and very choosy about food. I dream of their twice-baked potatoes. (drool)
I don't know if I would spend that sort of money on children's lunch though.
If you think River Cottage is too much - pretentious, overpriced etc, try the Cobb Bakery on the other side of the same block [you walk past it to get to RC]. They bake amazing bread, have a help yourself system and an honesty payment policy where you tell them what you had. Daytime only I think. Lord knows where everyone will park though, esp during summer.
betabaker oh yes, been in there a few times too , they do eat all you can toast and jam for £2, great coffee, love it...but i digress...
earthymama they do a children's menu, fiver I think for the meal, seems fairly traditional, sausage and mash, pasta with tomato sauce, also do cheese on toast, hummous and vegetable sticks, something else can't remember what...seems reasonable to me, DD would not appreciate venison burgers and DS would not like the braised lamb . I am taking the children tomorrow so will let you know if it is value for money for the children, and how well they cater for them seeing as they are reportig to be a family environment. They have promised me a highchair and crayons. They possibly need a seperate room with wipe clean walls but they will learn fast
betabaker, I don't think it feels too pretentious, and I think once the hype has settled and it gets a reputation for its excellent locally sourced food I think it will become a great chilled out place to eat great food.
But I do agree about the parking! esp as the only parking outside RWY is the Strand which holds like 50 cars, the rest is residents/permit only. RWY does not have that much space, but then, in the summer, i love the idea of catching a ferry from the Barbican across, have a nice bottle of wine, then get the ferry back again (then I can stumble home )
I am so full I don't want dinner! I took the children and another MNer to River Cottage today for lunch I was so full I did not have a pudding, now that is unusual! (I say I had no pudding, but I snuffled a couple of mouthfuls of panacotta when she was not looking )
Excellent as I hoped. I had the wood fire baked pizza with beetroot and goats cheese. Simply fab. I continue to be impressed with the cost of the food there, it would have cost the same if not more to eat at Pizza Hut or somewhere like that, and the food, well you can't really compare can you? pizza cooked in a woodfired oven or indigestion? Other food on the menu was fresh crab, fresh local fish, lamb, lots of great winter vegetables.
The kids had a great time. While waiting for food to arrive they looked at the deli counter, sat in the comfy sofas in the deli section and 'read' cookery books (DS pretended to read, DD chose her dinner!). They had fish pie and pasta, the fish pie in particular was lovely!
It was much more like a canteen in the day, there was hussle and bussle and more of a canteen style vibe, kids were able to walk around and look at things, I didn't feel uncomfortable taking DS outside for a look a the boats while waiting for the main, other people did the same with their children as did others who didn't have kids with them, and it seemed normal and natural to not have to sit still and patiently wait to be fed!
Presents for my family and friends are sorted - i think everyone is going to get a big chunk of Stinking Bishop .
<sigh> now, I need to get myself up in time for breakfast next week to make my menu sampling complete...I think I might have become a River Cottage fan!
bumping for the plymouthians who might be interested to read about this place, it needs to be celebrated as it is not often that Plymouth gets this kind of thing going on, hoping it is the start of greater things for plymouth!
We had a sample menu come into work and we looked at it and then decided it looked a bit on the pricy side - but if the food is that nice, then like you say I'd rather pay a bit more for lovely food, than cheaper food that was crappier!
bob yes gydnia way is now re-opened and the chaos that initially ensued after it opened has passed for the most part...
I was just reading an article on RC website talking about how they are transporting sample food from local farmers etc in Devon and cornwall down the River Tamar on a sailing boat to trial it! How cool is that!
Not yet been back for breakfast, but that is on the cards
i just lookeda the top 10 list and I agree! I have not been to is Zucca! or to the new Art Centre (been to the old one a few times, was ok, nothing special but new one looks nice) All the rest I have, and my most frequented places are Elvira's for breakfast, esp before going over to mount edgcumbe but sometimes on other days too, capt'n jaspers (too often when I was a student!), and I expect now River Cottage!
i guess it would involve going to a place, scoffing, and coming back and posting here in local about what we think? we could talk to MN and see if they will do some kind of rating thing for places mentioned in the listing?
Oh I quite like the idea, means we get to eat in some nice places with like minded food lovers!
River Cottage Canteen in Plymouth. What can I say, well its fantastic. Great food , great atmosphere. The food has a wide range of variety for vegetarian and meat lover alike. All the food has a restaurant feel but you don't feel like you are in a posh restaurant. The food is quite good value for money and tastes more than its value. The staff are very kind and welcoming, though at times a bit slow due to the amount of people eating their, it was packed. Their is an area you can sit and read books in. A shopping area with river cottage goods. The other important bit is the toilets are clean and tidy. I will go again and again