Comings and Goings 2007

This time of year there’s always a ‘review’ of what went on over the past 12 months in whichever piece of media you care to read, and I don’t like being left out. I don’t usually get myself too embroiled with local news, so if you want a serious overview of kittens up trees and pensioners outraged at rubbish in parks, you’ll just have to check out the local papers. I thought I’d look at one or two of my favourite comings and goings of 2007. In many ways just as trivial, but it’s our trivia…

Comings and Goings

Well, hello-ooo…

Frisbee in Greenwich Park So how’s that one going, then, fit folk?

The Spread Eagle The aggressive refit isn’t to everyone’s taste, and yes, if it were me I would have kept it as it was. But the food is good and Dick Moy’s paintings are fabulous.

The Alamo. Utter crap. See below.

Buenos Aires Restaurant A strong contender for my favourite opening of 2007. A superb restaruant. Shame it’s in Blackheath…

The O2 On first appearances this seems to be a success, even if for most of us, most of the time, it’s somewhere ‘other people’ go. What really needs some work is the transport infrastructure so that we can actually get on the buses during and after events…

Point Zero A perfectly acceptable Polish cafe.

Channers Almost next door to Point Zero and Alacosta and virtually opposite The Trafalgar Cafe, this seemed to be trying to reinvent the wheel, and as such, appears to have struggled a bit. A shame really as they really looked like they were trying hard. I was walking past the other day and noticed they were having a refit – within 6 months of their original opening. Whether this will be enough remains to be seen.

So Organic Does what it says on the tin. Organic Lovely Stuff.

The Fishmonger Ltd A fine addition indeed to the coterie of Greenwich Shops.

The Peter Harrison Planetarium Greenwich’s latest cultural addition. Not quite what we were promised, according to inside sources, but still well worth a visit. If you have any mince pounds left, go soon and get money off your ticket.

Bombay Bicycle Club The arrival of the upmarket curry delivery service was much-anticipated. It’s lovely food, a bit on the pricey side.

Bizili A new art materials shop from a slightly strange Chinese multinational. Could be good, but hasn’t reached anything like its potential yet.

The Rose and Crown A classy refit for this popular gay pub.

The Powder Monkey. An unpopular refit of The Cricketers. See below.

The Thames Clipper service has four new boats. I wouldn’t say I’m now a regular, but I’ve used it four times since November and it’s fab. Never actually seen the coffee bar open though.

The Post Shop in The High Road is a big improvement on its grey and dingy predecessor – bright and useful and full of stuff you might need. It should not have to replace all the other branches in Greenwich though. I understand they had to get planning permission to put the post box back outside, which I find staggering.

Ginza Now you’re talking. A Japanese restaurant at the ‘wrong’ end of town which actually rocks. Excellent food, beautifully presented with extremely (almost too) attentive service. Yessss.

IndigO2 A bad name for a good music venue. Expensive but classy new joint I will be more than happy to visit in the future.

Live Advent Calendar. A fantastic idea. I utterly loved the concept and most of the windows were amazing. I look forward to it becoming an annual thing – I can see a point in the future where getting a ‘date’ will be a huge honour and preparations will assume Rio Carnival heights – where people start planning their next year’s window on Jan 2nd… Come to think of it a carnival would be great too. Well done everyone – lovely stuff.

Much Lamented:

The Meeting House One of the big tragedies of my year was losing this honest little caff. What it has morphed into is hideous beyond belief.

Marcet Books

Just the latest in a line of tiny secondhand bookshops tucked in little corners of Greenwich to bite the dust. It was only when all the books were actually carted out of there that one was able to see that it wasn’t that small a shop. Warwick Leadlay has taken over the place and opened it as a gallery which is definitely the least worst option. I like Warwick Leadlay’s shop and he actually gives a damn. If I can’t have a dusty little bookshop there then he’s the next best option. The guy in there told me that there were so many books stored in the basement underneath that if, by any slim chance, the floor had collapsed, it wouldn’t have gone very far…


The Alamo One of the most bog-awful places I have ever eaten at. Apparently the rest of the world agreed as it didn’t even last ’til the Christmas rush. Appalling. I just hope they don’t try again with something else. What would work there with a kitchen that size would be good quality coffee and pre-cinema snacks. Nothing bigger.

Pizza Luna This, without a doubt was the worst restaurant in Greenwich, beating the Alamo into a cocked hat, but only narrowly missing Tai Won Mein. I am truly grateful to see it go, if only for the embarrassment I felt knowing unsuspecting foreign visitors were trying to eat there, thinking it was representative of Britain. Appalling.

The Powder Monkey. The perhaps unwise decision to try to trendy-up the gay scene after having taken away The Gloucester Arms saw the opening – and shutting of The Powder Monkey within a few months. It is now to be “The W Lounge” (wonder what the “W” stands for. Don’t go for cheap laughs, now…) We’ll see…

The Old Friends That this place has closed upsets me not one jot. But as a dead pub it is even more of a shambles than it was when it was alive. With the coming of the “Heart for East Greenwich” (I’m shuddering a little, but still have my fingers crossed) couldn’t someone take this place and do something lovely with it? Greenwich Meantime Brewery, perhaps..?

Not long for this world:

Flying Duck Enterprises The loss of this place will be a tragedy for the town – a seriously big nail in the coffin of quirkiness which already teeters on the grave of Greenwich’s independent shops. I don’t know the exact reason they’re going – but I understand the clientele of the hideous Wetherspoons (no chance of that being closed) has much to do with it. I hear rumour they’re going to Brighton. Frankly Brighton has so many of these shops already I think they’d do better just upping sticks a short way and opening somewhere else in Greenwich. But I wish them luck whatever they do. They will be sorely missed.

East Greenwich Post Office On its way out, after a lacklustre refurb.

La Salumeria A sad thing, losing a classic, untrendy, just-good deli. When I was in there on Christmas Eve though, I asked how long they thought they’d still be there and the lady laughed and said they way the sale was going they’d still be there next Christmas. They are currently trying to sell it as a going concern. I just hope someone bites…

Not Dead Yet:

The Cutty Sark The poor old girl’s in trouble, but she’s still just about breathing. It’s down to us to keep her going. I’ll be actively seeking out ways to support the fighting fund next year.

East Greenwich Gas Holder. One worth fighting for. If we lose this, we effectively lose pretty much all of our visible industrial history on the Peninsula (I’m not counting the businesses which still quietly go on along the river – we can’t see them from the new builds – and it’s important to be visually reminded where history comes from) and may as well just become another dormitory. I’ll be banging on more about this much more next year. You have been warned.

The Coffee Cellar The owner of this fine little cafe has been poorly recently, Scared of Chives tells me, and it’s been closed. So when it reopens, we all need to visit lots to cheer him up, or we’ll lose this little 60s gem too

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