Quite a while back, I blogged about the great news that ‘Borgo’, a deli style Italian cafe, was setting up in the commercial units below the Greenwich Creekside development.
Anyone who regularly passes along Creek Road to Deptford will know that this hasn’t taken shape. Before Christmas Borgo tweeted that opening was delayed until Easter because of issues around extraction regulations for pizza ovens, and now it seems they have given up entirely.
Instead, the unit has been a hive of activity (so much so that some local residents have had to ask builders not to start so early!). The sign on the window points to SES electrical services, but the workmen say this is just the company fitting out the offices and rumour has it that an architecture firm is moving in.
So it’s not great news (I would have preferred a cafe, or other small community centred business) but it does prove that businesses view the units as commercially viable.
With the plethora of planning applications to convert these units to low-spec residential units despite their planning designation being for ‘cultural use’, it’s good news the architects are moving in, to show we shouldn’t give the space up to flats just yet.
Meridian fitness in a neighbouring unit has thrived, and the large glass windows facing on to the street are ideal for showcasing products or services to passing motorists and pedestrians. A spa would complement the gym, or a bar to add to the great night life currently catered for by The Duke.
As Deptford gets ever more popular and Greenwich West expands, this space in-between would surely be a good investment.
Today’s big fixture was not, as some would have you believe, Liverpool vs. Chelsea.
A far more important game in my eyes, was the massive local cup final - Greenwich Mariners v. Advent Royals at Welling Utd!
Not a regular football go-er (ok, I’ve not actually been to a game of football since school) I literally fell at the first hurdle (turnstiles are tricky!) but, persevering, we found our way to the stands.
It was great to see the support that had turned out and the atmosphere was tense as the big match began. The mariners secured an early lead, then a fantastic strike lead to another goal. All looked rosy until the first goal came from Advent Royal, directly from a corner. No time to rest on our laurels here, and the managers knew it, offering constant advice (and occaisional admonishment) from the sideline.
I was impressed by the standard of play as it seemed both sides were technically pretty skilled. Only the occaisional judgement error or poor execution belied the fact they weren’t in a much higher league.
Other incidents included a couple of injuries (but thankfully nothing serious) and a girl in the crowd getting hit in the face by the ball - a cautionary tale for all those texting or tweeting, myself included!
By half time it was 3-1 to the Mariners, so there was a brief break to relax and grab a hot dog and a cuppa before the second half. Don’t try the hot chocolate at Welling Utd. though, I’m reliably informed hot water would taste better!
The second half began, and more of the same ensued for Greenwich Mariners - a steady succession of goals, and the final whistle blew at 6-1.
A great game in a good local ground, and a victory for the Greenwich side. Altogether a lovely afternoon out!
Plumtree cafe has been tempting me for a long time now, but for some reason I haven’t been in. But, stuck for a spot of lunch on Saturday, with a hungry man at home I decided to see what they had to offer in terms of take away.
First impressions were that it was very pleasant, and teeming with toddlers! I’m genuinely glad that spaces like this exist for mums with young children, but with the Saturday morning headache of the currently childless I was glad that I didn’t need to try and get a table.
Service was not the fastest but they were heaving and it was delivered with a smile, so I didn’t really mind. It was also a little pricey (I thought) for what could easily turn out to be average fare, or small portions. Thankfully I was wrong on both those counts.
It was when I got home that I discovered the real reason that Plumtree Cafe was so busy. My goodness their food was good. Having worked in central London for about 6 years now, I’ve had many, many, chicken mozarella and pesto paninnis for lunch…but this was by far the best.
Fresh pesto, chicken that tasted as if it had been pinched from a roast your grandmother cooked, and remarkably flavoursome (not rubbery) mozzarella.
I got a salmon sandwich for the other half, foolishly thinking that this would be a delicate finger sandwich style affair, thus I could appear extravagant yet also watch his waistline…but oh how wrong I was. This was a doorstop of mammoth proportions! Yet the bread was still light and fluffy and the salmon and cream cheese generous.
So, having waxed lyrical about a couple of their standard sandwiches, you can rest assured I will soon be back for more. Probably earlier this time to get a seat. With food this good it’s every man, woman and toddler to themself!
I first came across Little Nan’s Bar on Twitter, and from their tweets I must admit I was a little confused by their offering…were they a bar, a cake club, an arts and crafts centre, a tea room? We visited last night and I think Little Nan’s is all of these and more!
After a brilliant meal at The Big Red, we were on the market for a few more drinks and I decided to finally try out Little Nan’s. Just down the road on Deptford Broadway we didn’t have far to go, but this underground/prohibition style watering hole is so well disguised we only found it from the crowd of smokers outside.
My other half was a little apprehensive as we walked past the bouncer and proceeded down a damp passageway, but all was well with the world when we entered the warmth and fuzz that would easily pass as your (slightly alcoholic) nan’s living room.
The decor could be described as a type of “old world front-room chic”, with lampshades and flock wallpaper ceiling tiles. The music came from an iPod with good speakers and the booze was served in champagne flutes and teapots. We didn’t have time to try the whole cocktail menu, but it was an impressive selection with endearing local names (The Lady of Deptford Bridge is a personal fave) and cocktails as cheap as £4.
I’m told this was the limited menu and an even bigger variety is available when their cocktail mixer is back! Traditional beer is available, but even my other half felt that would be a waste so we both opted for cocktails. He had the Lady Bet Lynch, which was a delicious blend of elderflower, lime and err lots of spirits and I had the Princess Fiona - a mixture of amaretto, prosecco and cranberry. Both absolutely luscious.
The only disappointment was that, for a prohibition style boozer, the staff seemed a little over-enthusiatic about closing. When they called last orders we went to order a final cocktail and were told they weren’t serving them any more, but we were welcome to beer and shots.
I’ll forgive them this time, as their cocktail expert was away so it was taking them a while to make them. Besides, it just means we’ll have to go in earlier next time ;)
As a supporter of all things local, I should really go to Greenwich Theatre more often. Since childhood my visits to any theatre have been much like my visits to church - high days and holidays, with the sneaking suspicion I should probably attend more regularly.
After seeing Puss in Boots this year though, I won’t be going out of a sense of duty, but rather for a genuinely good night out.
We went, primarily because the show was one of a very small number of productions of Puss in Boots in the country this year (nothing like rarity to inspire curiosity!) and being without children, I wasn’t sure how much fun we would have. In honesty, I still wasn’t sure by the end of the first number, which was crooned (averagely) in a strong American accent. But my cynicism was swept away in a camp flourish by the glorious Madame Fifi the panto dame and I was in tears (tiers?) of laughter by the time the dancers entered wearing Eiffel Tower hats (don’t ask).
Shakespeare it was not, but good honest fun it really was, in a delightful venue with lovely staff and (importantly) a well stocked bar. Panto highly recommended, even without children. A couple of mulled wines in and you’ll be heckling the cast - sorry - “booing the bad guy” with gusto! Oh no she didn’t!
Some good news for the Greenwich Creekside area today. Those that know the development will know that with the exception of Meridian Fitness and Lollitots nursery, the commercial space under Greenwich Creekside has been empty for a while. There was recently an attempt by a rather dubious development company to convert the space into yet more flats, but the the council rejected the change of use proposals. This week there have been rumours that an alcohol licence has been applied for by one of the units, and company have been in touch to explain a little more…
"We are a family-run business (local to Greenwich) planning to set up a deli selling fresh juices, coffee, breads, ham, cheese, pastries, salads and the like to eat in or take away for those evenings where you can’t face the kitchen!
As locals to the area we have watched the rise in residential developments and people moving to the South-East and feel this has not been met by commercial developments offering people a place to socialise. We also feel that food chains and impersonal service is fast losing appeal and want to offer people a place where they are made to feel special. We want to create a relaxed environment where people can hang-out and enjoy fresh, local produce. We have a license to sell alcohol, so we are currently sourcing some great wines and craft beers, to serve alongside delicious sharing plates, such as charcuterie boards and a selection of antipasti.
We think our business will really support locals in providing a great social space and a place to eat and drink. We like to think of at as restaurant meets home kitchen…a place to indulge in affordable, simple food/drink whilst situated in a relaxed and friendly environment. We want to keep the menu small and flexible to offer customers the best seasonal foods and to minimise “Restaurant-style” fuss of huge menus and wasted food.
Please let people know that we are opening in order to make living in Greenwich and in particular Creekside better! We want to provide people with a great social space, affordable & delicious food and drink, friendly customer service adapting to local desires and to give confidence to more businesses so that we can help regenerate the area and make it a vibrant and awesome place!!”
I’m really delighted to hear that not only is some of the commercial space getting filled but also that the new business is so community-spirited, and I hope the residents of Greenwich and Deptford will welcome them with characteristic warmth when they arrive.
As a favourite of monarchs over the years, Royal Greenwich has seen it’s fair share of Queens. But two annual events bring together Queens of a less Royal (though no less regal) nature. I am of course talking about the Greenwich Drag Queen race!
I went to the race organised by the Prince of Greenwich pub for he first time this year, and am delighted to say it was a fantastic afternoon out! I say ‘afternoon’ but the festivities started at 5pm, the race itself kicked off at 6.30 and we were drinking well into the evening. Competitors outdid themselves in their finery and some were pretty talented at sprinting in heels.
There was cabaret entertainment provided afterwards, and the street was transformed into a delightful outdoor venue, with singing, dancing and a really jovial atmosphere. The race also has a serious side, fundraising to supporting the great work done by the Greenwich Metro Centre - a sexual health and advice centre for the LGBT community in Greenwich.
A fantastic time had by all and a worthy cause too - yet another brilliant (one might even say “fabulous”) part of the variety of delights that make up Royal Greenwich.
A planing application has been submitted to turn the commercial space underneath Greenwich Creekside into more flats and the deadline for responses to the council is tomorrow.
The commercial space was designed to enhance the immediate vicinity and create community amenities below the dense housing. So far there is only a gym and a nursery occupying any of the Creekside units, and yet all the housing has sold.
Understandably the developer is keen to offload the units and the ones under one block have been purchased by Criterion Capital. Criterion initially wanted to build a hotel on the site, however now they intend to make use of recent legislation (Class J for you planning geeks ;) ) to bypass a full planning application and convert them from office space to residential.
The current residents are concerned for a number of reasons, the main ones being the loss of potential amenities for Creekside and Creek road, and also the bad track record of Criterion Capital.
The cycle from Greenwich to the Thames Barrier is a favourite of mine. It includes great scenery, London landmarks, interesting dockards and is nearly all on a designated cycle route, away from busy roads. Its also a 7 mile round trip, meaning you work up an appetite.
This is how we found ourselves at the Anchor and Hope in Charlton on a sunny Sunday afternoon, in great need of sustenance.
The outdoor space is great: several benches with a great river view, laid out in a similar way to the Cutty Sark Pub in Greenwich, but less busy as it is more off the beaten track.
I ordered the roast beef and was thrilled to discover it came with stuffing and also a ‘pig-in-blanket’ (sausage wrapped in bacon). Very generous portions and lovely roast potatoes. The roast came in at £9.50 and is only available on Sundays, but is worth the trip and a great place to stop if you’re venturing out to the barrier.
Finally, I can’t vouch for the men’s, but the ladies loos were exceptional! Really well decorated, with a selection of free perfumes and toiletries, it wouldn’t be out of place in a nice hotel. Fancy that!
Service: 6.5/10 (tiny bit slow, but we were happy)
Finding myself with a rare free Saturday, I was delighted that Meantime Brewery were hosting a beer festival and promptly snapped up some tickets.
They were £12 which covered 6 tasters (1/3 pint) a branded beer glass, and some food. Not bad value at all!
We arrived at 4.30 but at that point the crowds were heaving (and had been there since 12 no doubt) so we took a little stroll and came back at about 6. The queues were much smaller then, although sadly some of the beers had run out. Tickets were also being sold on the door and they may not have realised how popular it was going to be!
There was still a really wide selection of craft beers, and I’ve listed 4 of my more interesting choices below. The descriptions are from the handy booklet and my slightly less educated (and ever more inebriated) thoughts are in italics afterwards.
Shortlist Fool’s Gold
A crisp refreshing summer beer that elegantly balances a gentle toasty malt character with the distinct aromatic fruit chracter of Citra hops.
A really distinctive smell. Very citruss-ey and refreshing - the tango of the ale world. 7.5/10
Fuller’s Black Cab Stout
Brewed with a combination of five different malts Black Cab Stout is 4.2% ABV and features luxurious red berry notes, toasty aromas on the nose and culminates in a dry, bitter finish.
Full and creamy like a good coffee, just with more alchohol. 6/10
London Fields Ruby Ale
Ruby red in colour with toffee and plum on the nose. A rich best bitter with a slight herby edge and fantastically bitter-sweet.