Cafe Cantina, Southampton Row

First visited: Saturday 23rd July

I must admit that I chose Cantina because Hummous brothers next door was closed. I realised that my cumin-scented beany desires could not be met, but Cantina lured me in with a very smart, black laquered interior. Film star photos on the walls were not addressed to the proprietor and signed and, all in all, I would not have been surprised if the menu had included sushi and mojitos. In fact, it’s a perfectly standard breakfast and sarnies menu, but nothing wrong with having that in a smart interior. And unlike somewhere offering global tapas, the staff could not have been more friendly.

Frustrated in my desire for garlic and chilli, I chose a halloumi and tomato panini. Surely nobody can produce anything bland with toasted halloumi? Sadly no. I think this panino was in the top five worst sandwiches I’ve ever eaten. It had no flavour and no texture – quite an achievement when you’re battling with the salty rubber band of cheeses. The bread didn’t help, but I can only assume that the ‘halloumi’ was some kind of international mega-cheese with all the flavour taken out so as not to frighten the horses.  I don’t expect haute cuisine from caffs, I really don’t, but it baffles me how they managed to make something so utterly bland. So, sadly, no return visit from me.



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