BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - Canteen culture - Age Concern, Norbury

BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - Canteen culture - Age Concern, Norbury - Entree - Despite turning 60 earlier this year, pensioners' charity Age Concern remains young at heart, if the canteen at its south London HQ is anything to go by. Twent

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Entree - Despite turning 60 earlier this year, pensioners' charity Age Concern remains young at heart, if the canteen at its south London HQ is anything to go by. Twenty and thirty-somethings (plus plenty of silvertops, naturally) seated on fake Arne Jakobsen chairs give it the feel of a chic metropolitan cafe bar, with only the views of leafy suburban rooftops to spoil the impression. It's very probably the coolest place to eat locally - not that Norbury offers much in the way of competition.

Main dish - Thanks to catering manager Pat and chef Hassan, menus (changed weekly) are an eclectic mix of south-east Asian and trad British influences - Thai green curry, tandoori chicken or vegetable dhansak, for example, but always fish and chips on Friday. Toasted sandwiches and baked potatoes are served to those without the time or appetite for a sit-down meal. Everything is freshly cooked, tasty and priced so that even cash-strapped senior citizens could afford it - around pounds 1.50 for two courses.

Dessert - Home-made puddings such as treacle tart or bananas and custard provide generous helpings of gastro-nostalgia, and there is fresh fruit as a sop to the health-conscious. Drinks on offer are limited to cans and water, but tea and coffee are available from the vending machine downstairs.

Whine list - Age Concern's 350 staff are enthusiastic users of their modestly proportioned canteen, so it gets very busy at lunch time. And vegetarians have been known to complain that macaroni cheese derivatives are too frequently their only option.

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