UK: BRAIN FOOD - Canteen Culture - WH Smith.

UK: BRAIN FOOD - Canteen Culture - WH Smith. - The WH Smith canteen, appropriately enough, resembles a large, modern municipal library with the books taken out and lots of extra desks put in. What you don't get in municipal libraries, however, is an exce

by GUY BROWNING.

The WH Smith canteen, appropriately enough, resembles a large, modern municipal library with the books taken out and lots of extra desks put in. What you don't get in municipal libraries, however, is an excellent little deli bar at one end of the room serving 'Hot Panini Louisiana Tuna Melt' and other superb sandwich delicacies, ranging from the sublime on white to the mouthwatering on granary. And the deli bar is just for those people who prefer having lunch in the company of their desk rather than their colleagues.

The main canteen is a tray-rally affair with various pit stops; 'Traditional' is a good hot meal, with a 'Blue Plate' special of cod, peas and chips for £1.85. Why it's called Blue Plate is a mystery as the canteen features very attractive designer plates in many different colours. The plates are slightly smaller than average, which means your cod hangs over the edges and looks rather grand.

Other pit stops are salad, jacket potatoes and the fantastically named 'Chef's Theatre', which looks very much like a carvery. The chef wasn't there at the time (probably in make-up) but apparently his carving is something of a spectacle. We dined within spitting distance of the group managing director, although there wasn't any of that going on.

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