Paul Williams has always wanted to change expectations. People might tell you that he wants this because he once worked with Heston Blumenthal, a chef who was all about changing people’s perceptions. But that isn’t it, exactly. Blumenthal wanted people to spend a lot of money to have their consciousness tweaked: Mr Williams wants something more foundational. He wants to change your ideas that inexpensive food has no right to be good. He wants to change your perception that food that is served speedily is fast food, and is therefore hyper-processed, and not good for your health. In short, he wants to turn your perceptions about casual eating inside out.
He does this by cooking good food, simply. He trusts to his suppliers, so the core ingredients are good, from dairy to bread to coffee. And he doesn’t over-reach: he knows serving something good, day after day after day, is what the food business is all about. So, the halloumi lunch box is always reliable. The green eggs and ham is always reliable. The daily porridge bowl will both wake you up and calm you down. The ham and cheese special with ham hock and smoked Gubbeen will always hit the spot.
Canteen will change your mind. Fast food that is good food. Unpretentious food that is always reliable. Inexpensive food that is classy food.
That will do nicely.