Archive for the ‘Eltham’ Category

Two saved projects, one pending…

Friday, January 30th, 2015

There’s been a lot of bad stuff gone on while I’ve had my eye off the Greenwich Time Ball, but it’s not all horrors. Two projects especially, that we discussed at length over the years, have come to fruition.

I am utterly delighted that against the odds Severndroog Castle not only survived being a vandalised – and vandalisable  - ruin earmarked for private offices to become a fabulous observation tower for all. I love visiting, and the views, especially in winter, are fabulous.

Then there’s the swing bridge across Capital Quay. It was on, it was off, it was a high-rise affair, it was shelved. The money was ear-marked, the money was already spent. But now we have it and no longer do we have to trudge round Creek Road risking life, limb and lungs to get from one part of the Thames Path to the next.

But the success of these two projects for me only highlights how much else needs to be done to keep Greenwich as vibrant and individual as it can be given the blandification of the steel and glass dreariness springing up around us. I worry for the safety of the Thames Path further down, one of the few remaining bits where you can feel you’re in somewhere that is both industrial and wild, is under serious threat of steel and glass.

Then, just to keep me awake on the nights I don’t worry about that, the University of Greenwich have announced they intend to sell their Avery Hill campus, complete with the glorious Winter Gardens.

This fabulous glass fantasy is currently open to all, if a little crumbling around the edges. If it is sold, there is no guarantee that it will be even retained, let alone for public use.

The Friends of Avery Hill Park are organising a Facebook campaign – being an old and crusty Phantom I can’t find my way around Facebook so you’ll have to find it for yourselves, but I don’t see why a similar campaign that fought and won Severndroog couldn’t be arranged here – there was already applications for lottery funding to help restore the gardens. I, for one, will be happy to get behind any such project.

It has a slight advantage over Severndroog too, commercially.

While Severndroog is beautiful, it can’t take vast numbers of people so it’s not great for weddings or parties – Avery Hill could, with a little rejiggery, be perfect – though of course for me part of its joy is the quiet seclusion you can find just walking in any day…

So – a pat on the back for projects complete, a call to arms for projects to come…

Tudor Barn Bar & Brasserie

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

I’ve been meaning to get over to test out the new cafe at the Tudor Barn for a long time – and my failing to get into Blackheath Golf Club on Open Day (all down to v. narrow slot of entry which, of course, I missed – but I thought I’d chance my arm anyway by having lunch at the restaurant, which I’ll SWEAR used to be open to the public – I’m SURE I saw it advertised in one of the free mags, though I guess that was when I used to actually get free mags…) gave me the perfect excuse .

I’ve been looking forward to it – it’s a fantastic building and it just needs that little something to make it really special.

I’m delighted that the little balcony that overlooks the (rather duckweedy) moat has been reopened after the refurb, and we leaped at the opportunity to sit outside – a little cooler than I’d expected but still a lovely day.

Service is friendly and I was pleased that not too many things appear on the menu – trying to do too much often leads to nothing being much cop. The basic choices are filled baguettes, jacket potatoes and hand-made burgers. The bar is new, but apart from that, all I can really see is different from the old cafe are the chairs and tables. All good so far.

I thought the prices for the food were a little optimistic – an average of £5.50 for a sandwich, a fiver for the spuds and £8 for the burgers, but the alcohol seemed quite reasonable – £3.00 and under for a (bottled) beer and a rather staggeringly cheap £2.60 per glass for the wine (one choice each of red, white and rose.)The wine, I have to say, tasted like it cost £2.60, though, of course, bottled beer is bottled beer.

I have to say that despite the lovely setting, I found this meal disappointing. When I saw how much food was piled on my plate, I thought ‘oh, that’s what I’m paying for…’ But size really isn’t everything.

My jacket potato was the size of a large hamster – the biggest spud I’d ever-bloomin’-seen, but it was largely hard as nails inside, and although it had clearly been done in the oven rather than the microwave, the skin was light brown, rather than the crispy loveliness that’s my personal favourite.

I’ll give them there was plenty of filling – tuna mayo and sweetcorn (from a choice of eleven usual-suspect toppings), and the small salad that came with it was really rather tasty, but by the time I’d removed all the hard bits from the potato I had decided that I’d have rather had a regular sized one that was properly done.

My companion’s 100% “Tudor barn” Beef Burger, on first bite, seemed much better. It was even quite nice on the second. It was clearly home-made and again, it was a good size. But it was very fatty and the bun and accompanying (again, very good) salad just didn’t make up for the grease.

In a couple of weeks’ time, a new evening venue, 1568 @ Tudor Barn will be opened. Open between 6.00pm and 10.30pm, it will be ‘serving gastro food including a daily three course specials menu.’ I’ll be testing this out, of course, but IMHO the Tudor Barn is going to have to raise its game to become a destination restaurant…

Tudor Feasts

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Eltham’s Tudor Barn has just had a facelift courtesy of the council, who have been looking for someone suitable to run it. The mantle has fallen upon Suzie Bailey’s events company Staar, and she will be holding a special open day on Sunday 24th May where, she tells me, there will be a “community consultation/display of the works which we intend to do to the building.”

After some searching, (I was sent a powerpoint presentation that looked lovely and used lots of buzz words but didn’t actually say what the reworking was actually going to include…) I found a website for the project.

I have to say, at first look, it appears impressive (even if the concept of ‘servicing’ visitors made me giggle in a childishly Phantomy sort of way…) None of the links on the page work yet; perhaps that will happen after the 24th – but hey – if this lives up to the promises it’s making here, it could be very exciting indeed.

I’m slightly bothered by the inclusion of wedding marquees – if you stick a marquee outside somewhere lovely like the Tudor Barn (and in my experience these ‘temporary’ tents tend to go up on the 1st May and come down on the 31st October…) the only people that enjoy the ‘historic’ view are those inside the marquee itself.

But hey. That’s small gripes. This looks like it could be a very nice idea indeed. Let me know what you think if you go along…