Brain food: Canteen culture - The Tower Colliery

Brain food: Canteen culture - The Tower Colliery - Entree Situated halfway up a hillside in the middle of what was once Britain's mining heartland, the Tower Colliery is the last remaining deep-shaft mine in Wales. Like the rest of the pit, the canteen (w

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Entree Situated halfway up a hillside in the middle of what was once Britain's mining heartland, the Tower Colliery is the last remaining deep-shaft mine in Wales. Like the rest of the pit, the canteen (which looks like an overgrown Scout hut) is employee-owned - workers pooled their redundancy money to buy the mine after British Coal closed it in 1994.

Main dish It's not going to win any prizes for interior design, but the canteen is spacious, practical and popular. As befits such a democratic organisation, everyone from the MD down can be seen eating here regularly.

A caff-style menu offers the kind of hearty sustenance required to keep 400 miners producing 600,000 tonnes of anthracite every year. Typically, three or four main courses are on offer. Combinations of chicken, sausage and egg predominate (mostly with chips) - washed down with big mugs of tea or instant coffee. It's not health food, but it is tasty, freshly cooked and very cheap - a little over a pound a head.

Dessert Workers going on shift can buy snacks and packed lunches from three cheery dinner ladies to take underground - handy when the coalface is five miles from the pit head. And on their way home, they can pick up a natty Adidas blouson from the sportswear concession in the corner.

Whine list Nearly everything on the menu contains meat, so vegetarians have a hard time here. As do those on a diet - there is a salad option, but at pounds 1.40 it's the most expensive item.

brain food is edited by Andrew Saunders: andrew.saunders@haynet.com.

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