Wood Wharf News

Kathy, my eyes and ears in Wood Wharf, has news. Funny we should have been discussing the relative merits of the restaurant SE10 yesterday, as Kathy tells me:

“I know you weren’t a fan of SE10 restaurant & bar, but the community around Wood Wharf Apts. is saddened that it is now closed. A small hand-written paper is posted in window saying they closed May 25th. Up to that time they had reduced their days opened and I saw very few customers April and May. I felt SE10’s isolated location was a detriment. For us at Wood Wharf it was very convenient to drop in for a pint, yummy breakfasts (when young female French chef was employed), and Sunday Roasts were decent. I especially will miss the cheery yellow walls.”

Interesting that it closed on May 25th and yet no one seems to have known that – even the people recommending it yesterday.

I agree that it was a little out of the way – but then so are The Guildford and Ginza and I’m not aware that they’re in trouble (but then maybe I don’t know about that either. Must get out more…)

I confess Kathy’s right – I was no fan of SE10 – but it’s never good to know a restaurant has shut (unless it was The Alamo or Pizza Luna, of course, upon whose closure I understand there was dancing in the streets.)

I didn’t hate SE10 – I just didn’t like it enough to seek it out a fourth time after three disappointing meals in a row. I know other people had happier times there – and there were some great touches – I liked the squashy armchairs, the yellow decor and the board games.

I wouldn’t give up on the area though – with all the new flats going up at the Reach, there will be more people wanting to eat. Perhaps someone new and innovative will take over the place.

But Kathy also brings news of River Bar and Grill, the restaurant to open in Wood Wharf where she lives:

“The latest info is that the opening will now be near the end of August. Up till now the construction has been putting up outside walls, concrete tiling, and general fixing up the restaurant site since all they had was an empty, open-to-elements shell. There is a guard and guard dogs in the space when workers are not on premises due to there being no windows yet.

I hear rumblings that some of the previous work was vandalized and of course there’s concern for theft of copper tubing, etc. Pigeons have been a big annoyance as well. After large glass windows are installed THEN the decorating work will begin – carpets, paint, fixtures, etc. It’s amazing to us that the past 2 years work has just been for fixing the shell space.

Wood Wharf occupants had an opportunity 2 weeks ago to meet with owners and take a tour, but we had USA visitors arriving that night and couldn’t make it. From notices posted, there will be live music – not DJ, 2-floors with space for special events, and possible outdoor seating. Contrary to former posts on your blog, 2 years ago they DID apply for music/disco until 3am, but this was rejected. Duh! There’s a special needs building right across the street and 45 flats above the restaurant! I don’t know where people will park their cars. On the dead end street parking is only by permit.

Also, in light of the latest criminal activity in this part of Greenwich along with the opening of the River Bar and Grill, local police are encouraging the neighbourhood to be part of a “crime watch”.

Unless there will be great advertising and signage this could be a bust like SE10. On the flip side, if it does well and lasts for 2-4 years, River Bar and Grill will be “the place to be” when the new Greenwich Reach extravaganza opens next door. Since I’m a foodie and desire a close place for a pint, I’m more interested in what’s on the menu. I will be greatly disappointed if it’s the same ole, same ole.”

I think that the Riverside has several things in its favour – not least the location – who doesn’t like sitting on the riverfront of a balmy summer evening, or enjoying a cosy meal behind glass when the winter winds are squalling outside? I think that people from across the river will see it too, and be curious – after all, it’s only a foot tunnel away…

I also like the enthusiasm I’ve been feeling from the people who run the place – I got the feeling that SE10′s enthusiasm (which I absolutely believe was there once) had run out of steam in recent years, and that they seem to be communicating with residents. The manager’s name is Kieron, if memory serves, and he’s been in touch here and they’ve obviously held consultations, even if not everyone can attend.

I’m not sure parking would be a problem. I see it as a local restaurant – I can’t remember the last time I drove to a local eaterie – not least because I like a drink…

I also can’t see drunken hooligans flocking to a smart restaurant when there’s a Wetherspoons down the way that will serve them cheap alcohol way into the night.

I’m optimistic about this. Sad about SE10, yes. No one likes an empty building. But if River Bar and Grill can come up with the foodie goods, and the experience is enjoyable, I don’t see why it couldn’t be another Inside or Guildford.

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