Under the Arsenal

If you happen to need to get from Woolwich to North Woolwich and don’t have the sea legs to take the ferry then you will be delighted to learn that the Woolwich foot tunnel has reopened! If you ever venture over to Woolwich or use the ferry you will have noticed that for the past few years the foot tunnel entrances have been covered in scaffolding but as you can see the work has finally finished and the tunnel will be open 24/7. So now you can take the stairs or the lift and take a walk under the Thames.

tunnel Dating back to 1912 the tunnel required quite a bit of work to improve drainage and stem leaks as well as upgrade the lifts. It was supposed to have a system installed to allow for the use of mobile phones although as yet the Radicals have not tested this.

Since this Radical’s mind is on Woolwich it is worth a quick round up of events. Some consternation that the M&S is due to close and the ‘Firepower’ museum is also under threat. Entry is not expensive (£12.50 for a family ticket) and it makes for a good day out. After visiting you can pop to the Dial Arch pub (or just go straight there!) within the redeveloped arsenal. A good Youngs pub with plenty of space, decent food, and events including live music. It also often features beer from the excellent Hop Stuff brewery just down the road.

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Le Bouchon – a glass by glass account

By now it will come as no surprise to our readers that we Radicals are partial to a cheeky tipple every so often.  In fact, one of the area’s attractions is the variety of tipple options it affords – from a decent local boozer such as the Dacre Arms in Lee or the Red Lion in Shooters Hill, to a cocktail at Bianco 43 to, now – and at long last in our view – a glass of top quality wine of an evening at village new-comer Le Bouchon (www.lebouchonwinebar.co.uk @lebouchonbar).

And so it was that one Tuesday evening the Radicals, along with a ‘click’ of other local bloggers (click being the accepted collective noun for more than one blogger) headed to Le Bouchon to sample its finest.

We began with a glass each of champagne and sparking rosé. Both crisp, well chilled and exactly the way to start after a surprisingly warm mid June day.

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To accompany the fizz we were served a selection (an amusement? Stop it! Ed.) of amuse bouche including green olives, stuffed peppers, and some lovely sun-dried tomatoes. All accompanied by fine bread from local favourite Boulangarie Jade.

Next up was a glass of the Picpoul de Pinet and a glass of organic Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley. The former is a light, refreshing, highly drinkable favourite. A session wine if you will.

Time for some more food. This time a selection from the meat and cheese boards accompanied by cornichons and more bread. We had the cured ham, Bresi (smoked beef) and the Comte sausage along with a grise de volcans, Comte 24 months and classic Rouqfort cheese. Each was tasty and collectively certainty made for a very substantial meal for two.

More wine, this time another favourite white, the Voigner, and a truly excellent Cote de Bordeaux. At this point it’s worth mentioning the service; Jean-Philippe and his well oiled (as in a machine!) team are friendly, unobtrusive and knowledgable.

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The evening progressed with the aid of a glass of Sancerre – a lovely balanced acidity and a full flavour – and a glass of the Chinon, fast becoming a favoured red by one Radical. And finally a pleasant Pinot Grigio and a formidable Cahors to round things off.

We’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating, Le Bouchon is a fine addition to the village, one which should attract people to the place and benefit other businesses. The ability to order an extensive range of good wines by the glass sets it apart from anything else in the area. And makes it quite a difficult place to not to visit. Frequently.

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Stationary

It took a long time to renovate the station (we Radicals welcomed the work) but why is it taking so long to fill the empty units? Usual Southeastern efficiency perhaps. We had a newsagents and still have the tea hut and now have a shop unit in the ticket hall and one in the waiting room on Platform 1.

Station To Let The obvious thing
would have been for the newsagent that had two stands prior to renovation to move in to the new one and for the existing tea hut to move to the unit in the waiting room – the latter we understood to be the plan. What are the issues? Have the rents gone up? There seems to be no reason for that. As you may notice we are short of answers but hope Southeastern can provide some insight.

The Rum (in Lewisham) Diary

We Radicals had a tremendous evening on Fri 20 June at the Street Feast Model Market in Lewisham. Full details of this event are in a previous post but to update the first night was such a success that the organisers have decided to open from 17:00 instead of 18:00. Check out our twitter feed @blackheathrev for the live commentary from the night!

The Radicals bowled up just before 19:00 and there were already several hundred people there (some 1,500 people passed through before 22:00) and organisers managed the numbers well – it felt busy and fun but not too crowded. A queue to get in grew as the night wore on so we advise get there early and remember it is open every Friday and Saturday until 27 September!

Model Market by NightWhere to start? As the Radicals did at the first bar we came across and a pint of Meantime London Pale (£4.50). Went down rather well and after a wander around we found a decent perch at the main bar where we could take in the views and vibe. Our biggest problem to begin with was where to eat. Malaysian or Mexican, pork or beef, Taco, New Orleans, hot dog, Italian, Indian… You will no doubt appreciate the dilemma. One Radical went for a rather large cheesy hotdog from Dog Town and the other a pork bun from Yum Bun. Washed down with Fuller’s Frontier craft lager (£4.50) from the main bar. Winyl was the next stop for refreshment as the daylight faded and really helpful and knowledgeable staff recommended the Reisling (£5 a glass, £25 a bottle). The bar also takes the visitor closer to the DJ as the decks are built in to the bar! The mix of chilled out and some dancey hip-hop beats (do you know what you are talking about, Ed?) was not intrusive and only aided the atmosphere. Even the local rozzers who popped in looked chilled out! On top of that it was a fine and mild summer evening (jackets or jumpers would be advised if staying late though), but we reckoned there was enough indoor space and cover should it be a bit wet.Malaysian brioche

With the fires going more food was needed and this time we patronised Breddo tacos and Sambol Shiok (Malaysian food in brioche rolls). Again, all very good. It is also worth noting here that it may look as though there are big queues for food but we found they moved quickly and as the food was being cooked to order people were happily waiting by the stand. With the relaxed vibe even this Radical felt compelled to make small talk with fellow diners waiting for their order (excitement build as the order numbers crept towards mine!). Everyone was enjoying themselves and the friendly atmosphere did bring out the peculiarly British trait of a sudden loss of inhibition and urge to chat with strangers having the same experience! Old friends were meeting up and new friends were being made. Even the security chaps were not the usual officious types – they happily chatted to people and let the evening take its course.

Fire drumWhite rioja, a bottle of birra moretti, and possibly a few more pints later (rum, cocktails and more was also on offer!), and your Radicals were still at their perch and reflected on what we had experienced: great food and drink, fantastic atmosphere; an official photographer with fine boots and Cuban heels whose Jack Kerouac/Hunter S Thompson look fitted in well; a chap wearing traditional African(?) headwear; and a rather energetic dancer who inspired others to dance (yes, we Radicals possibly stepped on to the dance floor after midnight…) and who even triggered a ‘dance-off’ (video here). Who’d have though that would happen in Lewisham?!

This was only going to be short post to strongly recommend going over the summer but there was much to enthuse about. The Radicals are already planning the next visit!

 

 

Free (Model) Marketeers

Model Market FlyerIt is starting to become rather busy in the area this summer with OnBlackheath, the beach at the Conservatoire and now Street Feast are opening up at the Model Market in Lewisham. The disused and run down model market in Lewisham is being transformed by the Street Feast team to provide food, drink, and entertainment from Friday 20 June to Saturday 27 September (opening 18:00-01:00). No news on entry fee yet, but Dalston Yard is free before 19:00 and £3 after. We Radicals love the concept of Street Feast and especially the decision to open up in Lewisham – not the obvious place for what some would only associate with areas such as trendy Shoreditch.  This could provide a real boost to the area and show what difference tarting up a rundown and derelict site can do. The Model Market promises five bars (from Shandy’s to cocktails); micro diners; BBQ’s; music; and even a “rooftop sun trap”. If like the Radicals you are intrigued then pop along, have a drink, some food, and take in the relaxed vibe!

 

Dalston Street Feast

Street Feast at Dalston

Model Market Shandy

More cheese? Renovators taking a break.