Model Market Season 3 – we got it covered

IMG_1555It takes more than a bit of weather to deter your intrepid Radicals from keeping an engagement planned sometime in advance.  Especially when that engagement is now established as firm local favourite – the opening of Lewisham’s Model Market (see our reviews of the first and second season opening nights).  And so it was that we trudged to the Model Market for the start of its third season, with dark clouds over-head and new rivers forming alongside the Quaggy amongst the trenches and cones that now mark Lewisham.  Yes, it was bloody wet.

But that didn’t seem to deter people.  Like us, there were plenty of hardy hipsters who had made it out for the opening night and the weather only served to amplify the great atmosphere at the Model Market, as well as to provide a reminder of how much of the place is actually under-cover – including the High-Line Bar that opened last year and which provides great views on the rest of the market.  We managed to bag a banquette at the back and as each Radical and chum arrived it provided an effective base for forays to and from the bar and the extensive choice of food options.  In the end, the combination of the over-heard cover and gas heaters, and the permanently lit braziers, meant that it was all rather cosy – like urban camping.IMG_1562

And – finally 0n the weather, promise – the organisers, the excellent Street Feast (@StreetFeastLDN), had even provided umbrellas to keep the dampness at bay.  A nice touch.

So, what’s changed at the Model Market in season three?  A number of new food vendors to try, such as Club Mexicana (lovely looking burritos and the like), Hot Box (barbecue / smoked ribs) and SE Cookery (cookies and sweet things).  Plus familiar favourites such as Yum Bun, Rolla Wolla and Mother Flippers Burgers.  It was Mother Flippers that we looked to for our first round of grub and, to be honest, it was so filling that it pretty much finished us off.  Succulent, juicy beef burgers and equally appetising bean burgers (according to the two veggies in the group) with generous portions of fries.  Be warned, it’s not a pretty sight trying to eat the things, but well worth the mess.

Otherwise it’s very much as you were at the Model Market.  Winyl are once again providing the background music – which, if anything, was slightly more to our taste than last year.  The loos are, well, ‘real’.  The main bar is big, has at least one extra ale but otherwise is the same selection (of slightly pricey) beers, lagers and – very well received – cocktails.  First night nerves may explain the slightly erratic service behind the bar (some very friendly and efficient young bar staff plus some who seemed a bit overawed by the whole thing) but nothing to detract from the general vibe of the place, which is great.

If you’ve been before, and especially if you’ve never been, you really should take advantage of the Model Market over the course of the next 25 weekends that it is open.  The Revolt will be back and hopefully so will the fine weather.

 

 

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Chapters Blackheath

It’s been a long time since the Revolt paid a visit to Chapters and, shamefully, we’ve yet to write a review of the place.  So a recent visit to mark a birthday (don’t ask the age – it’s not pretty) provided the perfect excuse to put together some thoughts in this village favourite.

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The menu is, mercifully, not huge and is well balanced with dishes ranging from well-priced burgers (not much more than the nearby pubs) up to similarly good value venison and top notch steak.  The focus is on the josper grill and the high quality pieces of meat that are cooked on it.  The wine selection is also impressive and was well tested when the Revolt and friends visited.

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For those who’ve not been before, the interior is open and light, with well spaced tables and good views from most.  The service is exemplary.  Our waitress was everything you would hope for: efficient, pleasant (but not overly familiar), knowledgable and attentive (but again, not overly so).  And she took, with considerable grace – certainly more than the recipient – the ordeal of bringing out a small birthday cake and leading a chorus of Happy Birthday.  Let’s be honest, it’s all rather awkward for everyone concerned isn’t it?

And to the food.  The onglet steak, ordered by two of the Revolt, was excellent.  Cooked rare it really did melt in the mouth.  Similarly impressive was the venison and mash and even the burger went down well.  The charcuterie board was a very decent starter for five people along with the selection of breads.

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For the reasonable prices that you pay for the great food, it’s hard not to conclude that Chapters is the best choice in Blackheath for a special occasion (though Tziganos round the corner is also excellent and the Buenos Aires cafe is always a good option); certainly, Chapters has a massive edge on the chains (Cau, Cote, etc.) in the village.

Here’s hoping the next visit isn’t so long in the waiting, and doesn’t involve any forced singing…

 

 

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You for sushi?

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UPDATE: Just checking through the Lewisham planning website and disappointed to see the application for the proposed sushi restaurant has been refused.  Here’s the refusal letter which gives as the only reason for refusal that it would lead to an “over concentration of non-retail uses in the Blackheath District Centre”.

Hot on the heels of the Council’s refusal to allow Le Bouchon to expand upstairs it’s impossible not to conclude that the NIMBY tendencies so entrenched in the area are on something of a roll.

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Just spotted this planning application to turn “Rockit” – the hair salon on Royal Parade – in to a Japanese restaurant.  Sounds like an excellent idea – the Revolt fully approves and can’t wait to go.

Apparently Rockit has not been operating for the past 18 months – something we’d not noticed to be honest (for a long while, this Radical has assumed it was a healthy restaurant of some sort before closer inspection revealed it to be a hair-dressers).  Perhaps the lack of action is related to the arrival of rival fancy salons, including the one that replaced the fishmongers?

Anyway, the new restaurant – if it gets approval – will be called Kitcho, which means ‘good omen’ (don’t cha know?).  From what we can tell it’s not part of a chain.  And the plan according to the application is for it to open seven days a week, noon to 3pm then 5.30pm to 11pm.

The village will benefit from a sushi bar (we certainly don’t need any more hairdressers) and the success of Le Bouchon bodes well for what looks like it will be another specialist food establishment.  We can’t wait and will keep a close eye out for Lewisham Council’s decision.

 

 

Dinner with Ruby and Norm (and a stuffed flamingo)

Well, at Ruby & Norm anyway, and there may well be flamingo. The little gem (geddit?!) on Lee High Road (no. 266) that sells plenty of things you didn’t realise you wanted as well as serving lunches, brunches, tea & coffee, is branching out in to dinners. Oh, and it has a gallery. The Revolt likes it and as noted in a previous post it is a great escape from the over crowding in the village coffee shops.Ruby&Norm

The pop-up dinner is a quite exclusive event over two nights, 14 and 15 November, at £30 a head. Info is here and on facetube. Dinner is not just dinner and should be a little different from the normal (you’re fired, ed).  The evenings are titled ‘Get Stuffed’ and there will be a display of taxidermy (ethically sourced). Further disappointment for the Radicals as one of our number does own a stuffed squirrel.

Guest chef Angie Ma will be serving up Crispy fried gorgonzola and thyme olives to nibble on and homemade honey cornbread stuffed with jalapenos, aubergine stuffed with Persian rice, spiced lamb, coriander and pomegranate for the starter. The main is slow cooked pork and dessert rounds things off with cardamom brandy snaps. Vegetarian dishes can be requested when you book,

Well, actually the evening is rounded off with cabaret. Disappointingly the Revolt had not realised a few dinners have been held before and the Radicals cannot make it this time either. Next time… At the time of writing only a few tickets were remaining so get in their fast if you want to go.  Email: rubyandnorm@gmail.com

 

Breakfasting across the Borough

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Of course it’s true to say that Blackheath Village can provide for pretty much every need and want – from fresh fish to quality shoe-fittings; fine wine to fine art; natty gents outfits to a bag of chips. It’s even possible once more to buy a copy of the Economist at the station newsagents (though not to read it on a direct train to Victoria!). But we Radicals are nothing if not adventuring types and as a consequence like every so often to venture to parts beyond Tranquil Vale. And as any hobbit will tell you, it’s no good setting about an adventure without first taking time over a decent breakfast. For those who might be similarly inclined we thought it worthwhile sharing our notes on a couple of recent breakfast outings. What do you think? Where else should we visit when out and about and in need of a petit dejeuner?

Firstly to Charlton, and the Old Cottage Coffee Shop in Charlton Park. The setting is first rate, with plenty of outdoor seating offering fine views of Charlton House. And it’s the perfect place to watch a game of a cricket – the main reason this Radical is often to be found there on a Sunday morning during the summer.

The breakfast itself was very tasty. The ingredients seemed to be good quality (often the sausage is the give-away – and this one was a fine specimen) and the portions decent. When you add in the cost of tea and toast (not included in the breakfast price as they often are elsewhere) it is at the pricey end for a full English. And the service, though perfectly reasonable, was not especially friendly nor speedy – on a relatively busy Sunday that is.

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As well as the pleasant park setting, the Old Cottage itself is particularly quaint and, in a good way, idiosyncratic – with Tudor inspired wall paper inside, plenty of newspapers to read and very comfortable furnishings. If you ever have elderly relatives with you and want to set them down somewhere safe for an hour or so, this is the place!

Next to Woolwich and the somewhat trendier Koffees and Kream. Though quite different to the Old Cottage it is the same reason, sport, which sees your Radicals visit K&K – in this case, the weekly game of squash. Yes, yes – you may well ask go to the effort of playing (a term to be used very loosely) squash for 40 minutes and then having a full English breakfast. To which there is no convincing answer so we’ll settle for ‘yin and yang’ and leave it at that.

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K&K, despite the annoying mis-spelling in its name (presumably it’s meant to be kool?), is actually a fantastic addition to Woolwich. It has a very relaxed vibe, a sort of cross between an American diner and a high-end coffee bar. The décor on the out and inside is very well done and the whole place feels comfortable, fresh and welcoming. The free wifi is also very good – this is the sort of place you could spend some time working on the laptop whilst drinking the pretty decent coffee.

Again the service, at least on our first visit, was nothing special. Unfortunately there was a mix-up with the order which meant the breakfast took rather longer to arrive (two mugs of tea to be exact) than you would expect, but this was an exception and the manager was apologetic etc. when made aware. The breakfast itself was pleasant when it arrived; good quality bacon, decent quantity of beans and nice toast. And it was well priced. They do breakfast, lunch and dinner and have a license so there are plenty of reasons to pop along.

And, apparently, K&K is already a bit of a hit amongst the SE18 crowd. It hosts popular evenings of music – such as Soul Funk R&B nights from 7pm to midnight. Not really our scene but great to see a place trying this sort of thing. And as a result K&K has a healthy Twitter following (@KoffeesandKream). We’ll certainly be back, so be warned – if you see three figures panting in the corner with squash rackets strewn about the place, keep back!

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