Ben used to work in marketing and spent all of his money eating and drinking and thinking he could open a restaurant. He then took the plunge, tapped up his friends and family for money, and opened his alternative to a pub, Ben's Canteen, a relaxed neighbourhood local serving brunch, dinner and drinks 7 days a week on St John's Hill (just up from Clapham Junction).

After a year of concentrating on British cuisine, Ben's Canteen found that limiting its repertoire to strictly home-purveyed food was becoming more of a bugbear than an ode to Britain. Here, founder Ben Walton explains why.