I’m at the Lightbox to watch movies semi-regularly, so I’m actually kind of surprised it took me this long to check the Canteen out. I used to enjoy getting pastries from here when I was on my way to a movie, but a couple of TIFFs ago I got a croissant that totally put me off the place. It looked like a croissant but tasted like Wonder Bread. It was shockingly bad.
The O&B Canteen has an all-over-the-place menu that ranges from jerk chicken and prawn curry to pulled pork and pizza. And of course, a burger. It’s a mish-mash of dishes that might lead you to believe that the restaurant is a Jack of all trades, master of none, and… well, you’d be correct (at least if the burger is anything to go by).
The Canteen Burger comes topped with “bacon, aged cheddar, pickled jalapeño, herb mayo, hot house tomato,” and also includes a side order of fries.
It’s fine, I guess. The well done patty generally has a decent texture, though it’s dryer than I’d like. The taste is a bit more questionable. The beef is pretty tasteless, and has a vague gamy flavour that was kind of unpleasant. However, this is less of an issue than you’d think; it’s nearly impossible to taste the beef with all the stuff they’ve got piled on top of it.
The toppings are pretty tasty, at least, which is good because that’s where about 95 percent of this burger’s flavour comes from. Though the cheddar was almost completely unmelted, it tasted good. The sharp cheese and creamy mayo contrasted nicely with the vinegary bite of the abundant pickled jalapeños, and though the tomatoes kind of got lost in the mix, it was overall a pretty good combo. It doesn’t quite make you forget how mediocre the burger itself is, but it helps.
The bun was amazing. Super fresh, with a very delicately crackly exterior and a fluffy interior that still had enough substance to hold up to the many toppings, it was pretty close to bun perfection (I guess I should give their pastries another chance).
The fries were also above average, and came with a delicious curry-tinged ketchup for dipping. So basically, everything was actually pretty good — except for the burger patty itself. Which is kind of an important element in a hamburger. You know, just a little bit.
Since I mentioned prices in my last review, it’s only fair for me to point out that for 17 bucks for the burger and fries, it’s a bit expensive. This wouldn’t be a problem if the burger was great. The burger was not great.