(Cabaret Voltaire) ‘acanteen’ – Chelmsford

It was a chilly grey bank holiday Monday and Val wanted to go into Chelmsford.

Okay, thought I, time for a sneaky breakfast.

It being a bank holiday I wasn’t sure which sneaky breakfast venues would be open, the usual suspects being BHS, Debenhams and M&S.

I’m afraid I just couldn’t face ‘Planet Wetherspoon’ for breakfast, we tried it once, one St. Patrick’s Day in Liverpool and Val was traumatised.

As we walked towards the city centre along Stonebridge Walk, beside the River Can, the window of ‘a canteen’ caught my eye, it looked interesting, so we thought we’d give it a try.

It’s a strange location, under a gym and across the river from M&S, but once inside and down the slope we were greeted warmly and showed to our table. The ceiling is low, the kitchen open, and the décor genteel industrial, similar to Byron, who will be opening in Chelmsford later in 2016.

acanteen Chelmsford @

I ordered the big breakfast, with a black filter coffee, Val ordered poached eggs on toast (not on the menu) and hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was decorated with a chic decorated top, as you would expect of a Shoreditch latte.

My big breakfast was, quite frankly, delicious. Three thick rashers of tasty bacon, a large Cumberland sausage, grilled tomato, field mushroom, a small post of baked beans, toast and two perfectly poached eggs. Val declared her poached eggs and hot chocolate to be equally delicious.

Breakfast at acanteen Chelmsford @

It was clear, looking round at the rest of the clientele, that we’d discovered where Chelmsford’s hipsters hang out, beards and ‘man buns’, and chic push-chairs abounded.

Okay, so compared to a department store breakfast, this wasn’t cheap, but nor was it expensive at a few pence over twenty quid. A hotel would charge at least half as much again. It’s about the ingredients, all top quality, and prepared with respect.

There’s a private dining room onsite, a bake shop, kitchen shop and a bar, the menu extends through from breakfast until late evening. It’s a real ‘everything’ venue, and I suspect that they probably do everything as well as they do breakfast.

Several staff members cheerily wished us a pleasant day as we left and after such a delicious breakfast it was impossible not to feel lifted. It was a great boost on a gloomy day.

We’d walked past the place a hundred times since they opened, and never ventured in, we won’t make that mistake again, we’ll be back.

Rating: ★★★★★

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