Wednesday 25 June 2008

Twelve minutes?!

It's quite a splendid wheel to look at and I was interested in planning a ride...until I read that each ride lasts 12 minutes. And costs £7.

I think I will stick to looking at it from the ground, and enjoying the free views from the top of Point Hill!

Made in Deptford - a moan

Our lovely home-grown festival 'Made in Deptford' has traditionally suffered from an appalling lack of publicity. Last year wasn't too bad, since they tied it to the Tour de France coming through the borough, hence the dates were set well ahead of the usual schedule. This year, unfortunately, it seems to have surpassed itself. Today I found out that it is being held on 5/6 July (less than two weeks' time), but only by total chance!

Where are the posters in the shops, local cafes and on lamp posts? How the hell do they expect to attract people to events without advertising? I realise that the organisers are probably scraping around trying to find funding, but how much effort does it take to print a few hundred posters and flyers and take them down the high street?

I've already committed myself to something else on Saturday, so looks like I'm only going to get chance to get to the festival on the Sunday.

Incidentally, don't go to the website looking for a programme, as there is very little information there. However I did see a solitary poster yesterday lunchtime in the Deptford Project cafe, perhaps this is your best stop for information!

Monday 16 June 2008

The Deptford Project

The Dame's first 'official' visit to the Deptford Project, Deptford's new 'jaw-achingly trendy new cafe-bar' (that's what Brockley Central said about it, not sure what it means but nice to know our neighbours are now a teeny bit jealous of us!) was a bit of a disappointment, so I held off reviewing it until I'd been back for a second visit. After all, every new place has teething problems, and it seemed only fair to give it a second chance. It lived up to, and beyond the challenge, I'm happy to say!

On reflection, my first visit for breakfast last Saturday morning was a tough ask, especially since the cafe had only been open a few days. Deptford is not blessed with as many greasy spoons as you might expect, but a couple of them reach a pretty high level by greasy spoon standards(and some of them are correspondingly poor, it's true to say). So to go to a trendy cafe for a fried egg sandwich was always going to be interesting.

The most notable difference was that my egg sandwich came with salad! I'm not talking about a plateful, it was more like salad garnish, but not really necessary accompaniment to such a dish. More problematic was the fact that my request for salt and pepper threw the staff into a bit of a tizz! In all seriousness, you can't have a fried egg sandwich without a touch of salt and some black pepper - table condiments please!

The sandwich was tasty (even without condiments) and the coffee was better than at my regular greasy spoon, but could have done with being a bit stronger. That being said, it was extremely pleasant to sit out on the decking in the sun, and enjoy my breakfast al fresco.

My second visit, for lunch today, was a much better experience, and the food exactly as I had hoped it would be. The baguette sandwiches looked nothing out of the ordinary, but the vegetarian quiche and fish pie that were on offer as lunchtime specials, and the three salads available were clearly homemade and proved very tasty.

I had the quiche (spinach and feta cheese with a pleasingly crunchy pastry base) along with two salads, one was nicoise-esque with green beans, tuna and boiled egg, the other was a lovely Moroccan-style salad with carrot, sweet potato and spices, and some leaves with a balsamic/soy sauce/olive oil dressing that finished it off wonderfully.

Along with a bottle of cranberry-flavoured soft drink, it came to £6.45 which seemed very reasonable for the quality of food.

The carriage is very brightly decorated, with one long table down the middle and the kitchen at the other end. I visited after the lunchtime rush, when it was quite quiet - it was pleasant to sit inside and read the magazines (Wallpaper and so on, imagine - in Deptford!) but I suspect it could be quite noisy if it was full. Or perhaps people speak louder when there is no-one right next to them - I was at the far end but still had to endure the full details of someone else's conversation.

Not much room for push-chairs or for children to run about (I mention that as a plus point - both the Albany and the Bear Cafe suffer too much from creche syndrome, attracting parents who think it acceptable to let your kids run riot when others are trying to enjoy a quiet lunch). Plenty of room for them to sit at the table or sleep in their buggies ;-)

All in all a fabulous addition to the area - my new lunchtime haunt, I'll be hoping to work from home a bit more often now!

Friday 6 June 2008

Cafe news: good and bad

Well, the good news is that The Deptford Project will be opening next Monday. You can find out more about this colourful carriage cafe by visiting the website where you can see a cute video about how the train carriage was brought to the site, and learn that they will be opening SEVEN days a week, from 7.30am on a weekday (YAY for decent coffee on the way to the train station!). They will be open on Sundays too, which is great news for the high street - presumably because the new market will also be there on a Sunday.

They are promising home-made food using locally-sourced ingredients, and bespoke furniture. I'm looking forward to seeing the interior - I love the new exterior, it's colourful and witty without being pretentious, and apparently the interior is done by the same folks.

Unfortunately, I also have bad news to report. Our wonderful cafe down the other end of the street, Deptford Properly, has closed! I don't know the full details as yet - there have been rumours they had some flooding problems - but I will be off down there tomorrow to see if I can find out. It certainly can't be lack of trade, it was always busy when I went in there.

If it's gone for good, this will be a dreadful loss for Deptford. Their food, teas and cakes were of exceptionally high standard, and it was a wonderful place to relax and meet people.