Sunday = Brunchday in our house and when we heard that one of our favourite cafes, The Green Owl in Buckhurst Hill, had opened a sister eatery in nearby Loughton, the temptation to try it out was too much to resist. The Green Owl Canteen may technically fall in Loughton, as advertised, but I’d say that its location on The Broadway in Debden rather gives the game away. Debden’s a funny place, a growing commuter location perhaps with new flats springing up all over the place; but to me, it seems curiously soulless – an impression that I think comes from the uniform architecture of a purpose-built suburb from the ’50s.
Owlfully Good Brunch
The Green Owl Canteen sits at the end of The Broadway, just a few minutes from the tube. It’s a huge space and on another of this summer’s bakingly hot days, we were happy to find that the windowed frontage folds back to give a continental al fresco feel.
We love the original Green Owl and brought high expectations that the owners would deliver a similarly great standard of food and ambience. I was a little worried to find that at 11 am we had one of only three occupied tables, and one of those was by a member of staff. Our lovely waitress made sure that we were comfortable and took our drinks order while we salivated over the brunch options. A. and I had our usual Americano and English Breakfast tea respectively, and both were pretty good.
The space here is enormous, with white metro tiles and an industrial look. It’s all spick and span, as you’d expect from a place so recently opened, but there are some slight sticking points like the minimally padded banquettes that are a little bit uncomfortable. Nothing that can’t be rectified with some cushions though.
There’s a lot on offer at the Canteen. As well as brunches, lunches and some evening opening there’s also a lovely looking selection of cakes on sale and a deli-style counter for takeaways too.
Back to our brunch and A. likes a little sweetness with his breakfast, often going for pancakes or french toast and fresh fruit, but this menu was relentlessly savoury so he chose Stella’s rustic potatoes, topped with spicy tomato sauce, fried eggs and salsa verde. It looked and tasted great. I love savoury and was very happy with the Green Owl breakfast of Sausage, grilled bacon, mushrooms, eggs and posh baked beans. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to my breakfasts and was a bit sceptical about those beans, but delighted to report that they were tangy and gorgeous – not so the bland button mushrooms.
The Canteen could do with picking up a few style tips, such as more attractive sauce bottles (industrial-sized generic squeezy bottles just don’t quite cut it). Also, if you burn the toast then don’t put the burnt side down and hope the customer won’t notice. We have taste buds! Not only did we notice but our lovely waitress gleefully trotted off to give the chef a good dressing down.
Listen in to our post-brunch chat here, and if you like what you hear please share and rate us!
It was a solid brunch, and they do evening meals too so we may well be back. I’m delighted to say that when we left at around 12 the restaurant was looking considerably busier.
Loo Review (PMC Rating): ★★★★★ Brand new and sparkling clean.
The Green Owl Canteen, 12-14 The Broadway, Loughton IG10 3ST Sunday, August 5th 2018