You know – I thought it was just me being out of touch – but I went to The Old Brewery last night for a meal (I’d tried to go to 16″ West but it’s closed in the evenings during the Olympics, which seems mad to me, but hey…) and I was pretty shocked at the prices.
They said they’d changed the menu so that they only do bar food. Okay, I thought, fair enough. Bar food it is. But the prices for their bar food are, frankly, extortionate. NINETEEN POUNDS FIFTY for the fish stew. Fish STEW, that is – not a bit of fish, a stew.
Everything seemed like the sort of prices I’d expect for the fine-dining, white tablecloth incarnation of the Brewery – and even then at the very tippy-top of what I’d be wanting to pay in a restaurant out of the centre of London. But this wasn’t fine dining. This was bar food. I ended up with a goats cheese tart for about twelve quid and still had to get chips as extra – these prices don’t include sides.
I have to say it tasted very nice (unlike the utterly vile ‘afternoon tea’ I had there a month or so ago, so appalling that I took one bite, and actually couldn’t eat it, which is almost unknown for me – I can usually eat anything sweet – I threw a bit of scone for a pigeon, which also took one peck and walked away. A truly terrible, terrible ‘treat.’)
But I digress. Back to last night’s fare. It was enjoyable. All the components of a goat’s cheese tart piled on top of each other, which was novel. (I’m asssuming the chef is buying a part-work cookery book and will receive the second half of the recipe next week ) And my pal, who had the ham hock, enjoyed that too. I nicked most of the apple-walnut bits – I said I like sweet stuff. So yes, enjoyable. But was it tugging-on-the-coat-tails-of-thirty-quid-before-you-even-think-of-drinks-worth of enjoyable? Sorry, no.
As I said at the top, I thought it was just me being out of touch – after all, it has been seven weeks and the economy is going down the toilet but then I saw this Twitter comment by Jobeba (@Benb111):
and realised that the prices HAVE been hiked for the Olympics.
The Old Brewery need to tread carefully here. I make no secret that I really, really like both the company and the venue – even though I don’t drink beer. I always (with the exception of that abysmal ‘cream tea’) enjoy visiting. I’ve been a fan ever since it opened and I still love the place, especially now that the walls are clothed in jasmine that smells heavenly on a hot July evening. But in cashing-in on the Olympics, fleecing tourists on a temporary basis, they risk a longer-term alienation from the locals that keep them going in the colder months. They may lower the prices again after the hoo-ha, but it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth (though not as bad as that scone… )
Anyone else noticed any brazen price hikes around the town centre (or anywhere else, for that matter)?