The Enfielder Restaurant, incorporating the Rendezvous Coffee Bar, is situated on the second floor of the London Borough of Enfield Council Civic Centre on Silver Street, Enfield, EN1. Its primary use is to provide a canteen and snack bar service to Council employees, temporary staff and contractors, but it is also open to the public on a daily basis.
The restaurant opens at 9.30am for breakfast which is served until 10.30am. From noon to 2pm cooked lunches and salads are available. These hours are from Monday to Friday; the restaurant is closed at weekends. The restaurant is open to the public from 1.15pm until 2.15pm. This is not a piece of information that is widely publicised locally. I was only made aware of it by chance after having started working for the Council.
The smell of the hot lunches begins to permeate the main building at about 11am each day, and is reminiscent of school dinners. The main meals are mostly unremarkable standard fare – pies, chips, pasta, mild curry, rice; stodgy food that will fill you up if you're hungry but won't dazzle your palate. The salads are more popular, the popularity being a combination of a fairly wide selection, reasonable pricing and that the majority of the staff are on a diet most of the time. The puddings are unrelentingly well liked, proof that if you cover anything in custard it's likely to command a sizeable following.
They also offer a take-away service for staff who cannot prise themselves away from their desks for more than five minutes over the course of a day, and like to eat their food from polystyrene containers. This ensures that the smell of the food travels all over the building, and probably accounts for a good 10% of trade.
The Rendezvous Coffee Bar, better known to the staff simply as the snack bar, sells mainly tea (Breakfast, Assam or Earl Grey), filter coffee, hot chocolate and cappuccino, as well as flavourless, under seasoned, plastic packaged chilled sandwiches with badly punctuated labels. The most recent addition is Mozzarella Chargrilled Vegetables. As I read the label my mind briefly skirted over the concept of the use of mozzarella in chargrilling, but a moment later the in-built punctuating part of my brain had slipped in the '&' and all was fine.
They also sell the daily staples of office life: crisps, chocolate, and bottled soft drinks, and have a fruit bowl containing a selection of apples. I have never seen anyone buy any of this fruit, and strongly suspect it could just be for show. There is also a manual can crusher, a curiousity as all of the drinks sold within the Civic Centre are in bottles.
There is seating for around 130 people, with about 100 seats at tables near the hot food service area and the rest grouped around small round coffee tables close to the snack bar serving hatch. The seating areas are also used for meetings throughout the day. Space in the Civic Centre is at a premium and it provides a neutral and comfortable area for meetings and less formal gatherings. The restaurant area is also the only means of access to the UNISON office which is a small, cupboard-like room just off the snack bar area. The section of wall next to the office door holds a selection of posters encouraging union membership and leaflets about personal rights at work.
The large windows in two of the four walls afford an excellent view of Enfield Town. The South window shows the main road through Enfield, Enfield Town station and a variety of houses and flats while the North window looks out over the Police Station and the leafy playing field of Enfield Grammar School.