George II

Alex says:

I know that you are a very busy Phantom but please try to review George II in the covered market, it is on the site of what used to be a perfectly good, slightly greasy spoon cafe with tables outside. We went there for coffee yesterday and had to wait ages to be served, no table service, from staff who had so obviously had a row it was comical. She glared at him, he rolled his eyes at her at one stage we thought they were going to come to blows.

All the tables had dirty stains on them as all the coffee is served in mugs, spoons with coffee on them are left on the tables hence the stains – not once did we see a cloth when the tables were cleared. As it is half term there were lots of mums and kids and without exception everyone that ordered baked potatoes in their jackets returned them as they were not cooked (microwaved) in the middle.

The coffee was fine, although it would have been nice if either of the fighting staff had smiled – at least once; we stayed for two cups as we were having such fun watching the rows.

The Phantom Replies:

I have tried to review George II twice but each time have been so put off by the massive queues, the chaotic atmosphere and the unexciting-looking fare that I’ve just turned round and walked out again. I didn’t see any staff at all – let alone rowing ones.

If you’ve been a reader for long you will know that The Meeting House used to be listed as one of my favourite haunts – for just plain good value, good food. Your visit just adds to my fears.

Perhaps Greenwich Inc are spreading themselves a little too thin here. Contrary to popular belief, I am not actually anti-Greenwich Inc. In some places they do very well – inside the O2, for example, they take on the big multinationals at their own game and don’t come off badly at all. If we’ve got to have a chain at least it’s a local chain and I congratulate them on having a go in a Dome that could have all been major conglomerates.

I notice they also have a licence application for the eaterie in the new apartment building on the Thames Path next door to the power station. Seems to me that no other bugger would touch it in over a year and Greenwich Inc have at least got the guts to go for it. But some of their outlets just seem like a cash-in, and, by the sound of it, at George II quality is being sacrificed for profit.

I am very sad to hear about the jacket potatoes – it was the spuds that used to bring me back again and again to The Meeting House. Microwaved? Yeuch. Not even cooked? Double yeuch.

It does at least sound as though you enjoyed the experience in a manner of speaking – sometimes a place is so terrible that it stops being a cafe and starts being theatre.

Trouble is, that as with so many eateries in central Greenwich, George II does not have to convince us locals to return. There is a steady flow of one-off tourists who will not be expected to tell their friends or create any kind of buzz to keep the pounds rolling in (I will be interested to see what happens in the new place by the power station – fewer tourists will mean Greenwich Inc have to appeal to locals – hopefully we will see something new and exciting there – and I will be the first to trumpet it if we get something really good…)

I will try to brave George II one day soon – but they don’t need my – or your – custom and I cannot think that they will care what I, or anyone else has to say. It’s a shame that The Meeting House closed, but it’s even more of a shame if what has replaced it is a shadow of its former greasy glory. Greenwich already has a dodgy reputation for food. This is not going to improve that reputation.

Has anyone else been there yet?

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