George of Greenwich
Nelson Road, SE10
I don’t know whether anyone else has seen the latest Time Out Guide to Greenwich & Docklands (2007) but I suffered a serious double-take when I looked at Page 4, where it has listed, just below Greenwich Royal Park, George of Greenwich as Number Two in their list of Top Ten Things to Do.
Was I missing something? “Upmarket deli sells cheese, wine, ham, pate and speciality olive oil.” Sorry? Are we talking about the same place here? “They also bake daily.” You what?
The last time I went into George of Greenwich it hardly justified the title of delicatessen at all, let alone the Number Two Thing To Do in this most exciting of London regions. It was most definitely “crappest deli in town.” I would even give it first prize for “most overpriced,” or “least well-stocked” – but this was on a page which listed The Fan Museum, The Cutty Sark and The Royal Observatory as lower than this supposed paragon of foodie heaven.
Convinced I had missed something, I vowed not to write about this until I had tested it out for myself again, in case I’d made some terrible mistake.
It was worse than I had thought. George of Greenwich is now just another frontage to that restaurant equivalent of urban sprawl, the erstwhile interesting Bar du Musee. I went right inside to the back in case the deli-goods were hidden somewhere and I can confirm that the only things on George’s shelves are rows and rows of packets of crisps. There are one or two soft drinks in chiller cabinets and, er, that’s it. It’s just a very dull coffee shop now, which opens at the back into the extended Bar du Musee. There are clattery little tables and bar stools at the front, a dark, gloomy area between the two premises at the back with some leaflets and estate agents’ magazines, and glass-covered fridges with sandwich ingredients and ice cream for the odd snack. The coffee is average, but not aimed at the likes of us. This is very definitely For The Tourists.
In case you’d harboured any hopes that the little antiques shop in between the two, Walpoles, was going to survive this onslaught, forget it. The premises are now all knocked into one big mass, with ex-Walpoles in the middle, kitted out with a few leather squashy sofas and some pictures. It’s truly depressing.
One thing more. A small notice in the corner of Bar du Musee’s window declares an application to expand at the back. How? Where’s it going to go? They apparently want to extend the glass bit over the open courtyard AND expand – presumably over the flower beds – there can’t be anything else left. I daresay it will happen.
Perhaps Time Out should get people who actually KNOW Greenwich to write lists of things to do here. Even the most cursory glance into George of Greenwich would tell you this is not the greatest deli in the world – or even, in fact, a deli at all…
Just for a laugh, check out George’s website and see if you recognise ANY similarities between it and the shop itself.