Posts Tagged With: Deptford

Getting some TLC from your granny: Little Nan’s Bar loves you

Copyright of Little Nan's Bar. Sourced from Little' Nan's Bar website

Copyright of Little Nan’s Bar. Sourced from Little’ Nan’s Bar website

Cuisine: Cocktail bar

Address: 46 Deptford Broadway, SE8 4PH

Area: Deptford

Nearest Station: Deptford Bridge / Deptford

Tel.: 07792 205 375

Website: http://www.littlenans.co.uk/

Pricing: Cheap-Medium

Good For: Good cocktails, Friendly conversation, Chilled evening, Eccentric night, Nostalgia, Party times

If you were planning a birthday party, what would you do? Bear in mind that the previous year, you’d thrown a pretty banging house party with a whole roast lechon as its centrepiece (naturally, that part was amazing; I’ll just give myself a pat on the back), and you were thinking that you wanted something a little bit different.

Stanley the lechon pig made a special guest appearance at my birthday, 2012. Life hasn't been the same since

Stanley the lechon pig made a special guest appearance at my birthday, 2012. Life hasn’t been the same since

If you live in Southeast London, more specifically the golden, er, diamond that is New CrossBrockley-Lewisham-GreenwichDeptford (okay it may not be a diamond), you should check out Little Nan’s Bar on Deptford Broadway.

Many are the times I’ve walked past a non-descript door with an old balloon-bedecked chair standing watch outside, wandering what pleasures/terrors lurked down that dark corridor to Little Nan’s Bar. It was just begging me to find out.

"You want us to go in there...? Are you sure...?"

“You want us to go in there…? Are you sure…?”

A dark, foreboding room that says "Open". What could possibly go wrong?

A dark, foreboding room that says “Open”. What could possibly go wrong?

And so I did.

The concept, from what I saw, experienced, and gleaned (and liberally interpreted) from top grandson Tristan, is that Little Nan’s Bar can sort of be summarised as the result of an alcoholic grandmother deciding that she wanted to open up a speakeasy in her twee living room. Really.

A little glimpe of the bar in Little Nan's living room

A little glimpe of the bar in Little Nan’s living room

You have rickety coffee tables covered in porcelain tat and old magazines, battered arm chairs and musty sofas, vintage pieces and art hanging from the walls, and giant teddy bears propped up and looking for some hugs; cover up the exposed brickwork with some heavily-patterned wallpaper and maybe freshen the air and smell a bit, and you could be back in my gran’s front room in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tristan had a good rustle through Abstracticus next door, in the Deptford flea market or in Aladdin’s Cave on Lewisham Way (big up Southeast London yo) to get all these items – they all add up to make quite the atmosphere.

THUG LIFE

THUG LIFE – photo courtesy of a friend!

To top it all off, cocktails are served in mugs, porcelain cups and even teapots – yes, teapots. And with names like Queen Victoria, The Queen Mum and even Princess Eugenie of York (“I’ll have a little bit of Princess Eugenie, ooh err”), Little Nan’s Bar has one foot firmly planted in old-fashioned monarchist granny territory.

High Tea, anyone?

High Tea, anyone? – photo courtesy of a friend!

That’s not to say that Little Nan is not open to new things and experimentation (oooh errr): as I made a booking for my birthday, I was offered to have a cocktail made in my honour. My exact instructions were, “I’m a fan of gin-based or rum-based cocktails – something a bit zingy and fresh and crisp but not overly-sweet (think Tom Collins or Dark and Stormy)”, and the resulting concoction was the Lord Mark. Dark rum laced with ginger beer, and topped off with fresh lime wedges, fresh mints and a hefty handful of blueberries; that sounds pretty spot-on, no? Chilled with ice and served in a teapot, it made for a very welcome birthday drink.

Cocktails in a teapot. Something for all the family (granny included)

Cocktails in a teapot. Something for all the family (granny included)

Indeed, all of the cocktails I was able to sample were lovely – though as I was exercising my birthday rights by stealing/accepting offers of drinks from different, unlabelled (as far as I could see… perhaps some tags would be a good thing to use in future?) teapots, I am unable to offer any good opinion on specific Little Nan creations. I do wish I was able to try the signature cocktail of the bar, the appropriately-named Little Nan Loves You, but alas it was not available that night.

It was a very fun evening overall, with me and my friends making a raucous racket of ourselves (we were not the ones who knocked over the cabinet, I hasten to add!) as we soaked up the eccentric atmosphere. They’ve done a thorough job in creating a unique and fun space and in coming up with a drink offering that is both cheap and cheerful and good quality too – and as Little’s Nan grandchildren are on hand all the time, it’s very easy to build those relationships and connections that make you feel a part of something special that you won’t find elsewhere.

Fun and games to be had at Little Nan's

Fun and games to be had at Little Nan’s

Places like Little Nan’s Bar are why I’ve come to quite like living in New Cross and Southeast London in general – we’ve got cafés with well-made food, pubs with character and good taste in beer, cheap and cheerful Vietnamese without the crush, apparently one of the best Turkish restaurants in London (and other really decent offerings too), food and produce markets that still feel like your local neighbourhood affair, Filipino supper clubs offering something tastily different (did I just big up mine and my brother’s venture? I think I just did!) and now bars that offer up something fun in an eccentrically inventive manner. AND there’s enough exposed brickwork for all who want it.

Who needs East London, eh? It’s all about SE postcodes, babeh!

VERDICT – Highly recommended. I had a spiffing good time for my birthday, and I’m sure others would too. It would certainly add a touch of something unique and different to any proceedings taking place there. With a creative mix of cocktails and a rather fun vibe to it, all packed into a very ‘cosy’ environment, it’s definitely a place to party on with friends. Stay a while for the drinks and the atmosphere, and then come back again because, quite simply, it was fun.

Currently listening to: Open Hand – Tough Girl

Categories: Cocktail Bar | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fast and furious times: Vietnamese at Le Gia

Copyright of Le Gia. Sourced from Le Gia website

Copyright of Le Gia. Sourced from Le Gia website

Cuisine: Vietnamese

Address: 41-42 Deptford Broadway, SE8 4PH

Area: Deptford

Nearest Station: Deptford Bridge/New Cross

Tel. No.: 020 8333 7491

Website: http://www.legia.co.uk/

Pricing: Cheap-Medium

Good For: Cheap and cheerful, Casual dining, Quiet meal

Ah, Deptford. The place was known to me primarily because of its history – its illustrious naval and maritime heritage, and its rather less salubrious reputation as the place where Christopher Marlowe died in a tavern brawl. And although I’d been to neighbouring New Cross several times to visit friends, I’d never dined out in the area. All in all, the place was a big unknown for me.

But now that I live in New Cross, I can appreciate the fact that Deptford is an exciting and varied place with a well-established Vietnamese community, presenting me with several good dining options right on my doorstep. However, the way that I discovered Le Gia harked more towards the ‘Christopher Marlowe’ side of things – the drinking side, not the stabbing, I hasten to add.

Nursing a massive hangover, I woke up after having unexpectedly crashed at my friends’ place in New Cross. Not willing to be more of an imposition, I went out in search of sustenance. Taking a curious and slow stroll towards Deptford, I chanced upon Le Gia, and looking at the menu, decided that this was exactly what I needed.

First impressions were a bit odd. It’s rather ‘hidden’ from the outside, and you wouldn’t expect a Vietnamese restaurant in what looks like an ex-pub. The inside is a bit clinical, the simple tables being dwarfed by the high ceilings. At the time they were playing Vietnamese karaoke videos on the TV above the bar – thankfully, for the time of day, the videos were on silent; I’ve discovered since that the karaoke is a constant feature of Le Gia, and in the evenings they let it all out by unmuting the TV.

The other thing that struck me, and still puzzles me, is that the place was and is usually nearly empty. Every time I have been (although the last time I went was a few months back) the only other diners have typically been a table of the owner’s friends. Usually a bunch of tough-looking and quiet-spoken fellows, I might add. You can draw your own conclusions from that…

Pork and stuff onna noodles - happiness in a bowl

Pork and stuff onna noodles – happiness in a bowl

This emptiness should be off-putting in most cases, but in Le Gia’s case it’s more than out-balanced by the quality of the food – which is why this place intrigues me. I love squid with chilli and salt, and Le Gia definitely delivers with their version: slightly crunchy-fried, a good level of salt and pieces of chilli lying around just asking to be eaten. The vermicelli noodles with grilled pork (and other toppings, depending on the option chosen) are delightful, tasty and filling; the one with grilled pork, spring rolls, pork hash and fresh vegetables is a must. Similarly good for the comfort eater is the grilled pork chop on rice – the rice is slightly sticky and soft, just how I like it; the pork is smoky and tender. Whilst those are the stand-out dishes for me, I’ve always been rather envious of the meals that my family and companions have had with me. Le Gia seems to be rather strong across the board.

Grilled pork chop. Happiness on a plate

Grilled pork chop onna rice. Happiness on a plate

And to finish off the meal, I always order a cup of Viet caphe, being in love with all things with condensed milk in them. It’s a sensibly-sized cup of the strong stuff and drip-filtered slowly in the traditional way. It is achingly sweet – they do not skimp on the condensed milk. Full marks to them here.

I’ve had a chance to try some of the other Vietnamese places in Deptford, but still I’m drawn back to thinking of Le Gia. So why has the place always been empty? I wish I knew. Maybe I’m just blessed with the ability to always go at the right time to get a table. Who knows…

VERDICT – Highly recommended. It makes for a nice local Vietnamese, that’s cheap and cheerful and serves good food. And you can always get a table!

Currently listening to: Sinsemilia – +2 Flics

Categories: Vietnamese | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A quiet corner in bustling Deptford: Coffee and treats at Deli X

Copyright of Deli X. Sourced from Deli X website

Copyright of Deli X. Sourced from Deli X website

Cuisine: European

Address: 156 Deptford High Street, SE8 3PQ

Area: Deptford

Nearest Station: Deptford/Deptford Bridge

Tel. No.: 020 8691 3377

Website: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Deli-X/249955361716103

Pricing: Cheap-Medium

Good For: Loitering over drinks, Sinful snacks, Community feeling

Having only just become a ‘proper’ Londoner (i.e. not just a weekday commuter/weekend playboy) within the last year, I thought it best to set down some roots and really explore the multifarious wonders of Southeast London.

And so, one sunny Saturday afternoon in April 2012, I decided to explore Deptford Market. I spent a fruitful hour exploring amongst the stalls, the fishmongers, the butchers, the greengrocers, the Chinese and Vietnamese stores, the flea market on Douglas Way, the Albany Theatre… and came away with a bag full of veggies, some Chinese ingredients, a nicely-weighted cleaver, a cafetière and an idea that yes, Deptford Market was actually a pretty cool thing to have around.

Well, I decided to head further north along Deptford High Street to explore what else lay beyond the railway bridge. I chanced upon the cheerfully-coloured Deli X and popped in, attracted by the deli displays of fresh fruit and vegetables and tempting cheeses.

The deli itself is small but well-laid out, and is rich with an eclectic theme. Having noticed that I looked a bit lost amongst the vegetables, one of the owners came over and offered to help. Friendly as ever, she managed to steer my attention to the coffees and cakes they had on offer. Clever girl she was, doing that. It wasn’t long before I relented to a Portuguese egg tart and a coffee, after which she sent me over to the dining area, a charming place filled with couches, mismatched tables and chairs.

Carrying on with the eclectic and mismatched theme, my coffee arrived in a bowl that perched precariously on an under-sized saucer. Funky, but risky – the girls here must have the balancing and hand skills of, I don’t know, a circus juggler.

I’m not a coffee aficionado, but I think I know enough to pick out bad coffee – this most definitely did not fit that bill. And as for that first egg tart, it was creamy and very more-ish; although they admitted that they didn’t make them themselves, they were going to give them a shot. I wish them the best in this endeavour

Since that first visit, I’ve also had the pleasure of having their almond croissants, which are a real guilty pleasure of mine and, I feel a good way of measuring up different places that sell them. Deli X’s almond croissants are rather sinful, with a generous filling of smooth and rich almond paste nestled amongst light, flaky and buttery pastry. The croissants occasionally have a bit too much powdered sugar on it, but other than that they make for a great afternoon snack.

All in all, it looks like a place you could linger in for an hour (as I have done on a few occasions, mainly after job interviews), reading one of the books that they have on their shelves, talking to the owners – or, as I did on a recent visit, you can admire the art they hang on the walls. Superhero art this time around – I was invited along to a private viewing the next night, so as to meet the artist and perhaps purchase a piece to adorn mine and my brother’s place. Unfortunately I already had something planned, but I appreciated the gesture.

VERDICT – A good place. I always enjoy warm welcomes, and they are in abundance in Deli X. When coupled with a feel that is relaxed, spacious and comfortable in its uniqueness, I think that Deli X is on to something here.

Currently listening to: Hexes – Lipgloss Ghosts

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