Bar and Kitchen

Opening in time for the crowds that were expected at the new Greenwich Picturehouse, The Bar and Kitchen occupies the site its parent company’s deli used to hold before it moved nearer to the market, opposite the cinema. The bright, modern interior isn’t really to my personal taste – though I realise it’s all very new and trendy I personally prefer something a little cosier. Bright jewel colours in reds and purples adorn the walls and a series of canvases forming a giant picture of a flame are jolly enough, the current vogue for 70s retro styling is well represented – it’s just not quite my cup of tea. The large glass windows which though probably great during the day, made me feel a bit like a goldfish in a bowl at night.

I enjoyed the glassware – though its asymmetrical nature could give a few people a bit of a shock – it added a little individuality to an otherwise unexciting interior. I have noticed though, that after a year or so, the funky glasses are gradually being replaced with bog-standard cheapo ones.

Sadly the cooking’s getting a bit on the bog-standard side too. When the place first opened the food was unfaultable. Personally sourced, albeit the guy I talked to, though claiming he bought the ingredients himself that morning didn’t really seem to know much about its provenance other than it was ‘organic’ (he went on and on about that bit)- he seemed nonplussed when I asked if the scallops were diver-caught, for example, it was at least fresh and tasted great.

Even at the beginning, the wine felt like it was trying a little too hard. We tried the ‘house exclusive’ blend and though the flavour was pleasant enough the powerful qualities of each of the different grapes almost seemed to be battling with each other for attention, giving the impression of a slightly over-rich fruit cake. Having said that, we finished the bottle and toddled home quite happily, of course. Naturally, wine has to taste like battery acid before I leave any …

Since then, sadly, the quality’s been going down every time we’ve eaten there. The first time we made excuses for it – like ‘it was the beginning of the week’ (never order fish on a Monday anywhere, by the way) or ‘the wrong time of year.’ The menu was unexciting and the cooking much the same. The next time it was a little less interesting than even that. The last time we ate there, a couple of weeks ago, most of the dishes were “off.” We were guided towards the “special menu” which we were surprised that they could supply at the price – and we were justified in our concern. Even at the price, it was just not worth the money – poor portions and poor cooking. I will have to hear some VERY good reviews from people whose opinion I respect to tempt me back a fourth time.

The service was friendly enough, though due to the size of the kitchen (miniscule) the wait can be a little long at busy times – and the lack of basic English in the staff made it difficult to communicate. Frankly I suspect that if you’re looking for a night out you could probably do better than Greenwich Bar and Kitchen as it currently stands.

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