Tuesday, 5 April 2011


"What's the grub like," I demanded of the woman kindly offering her chair. She looked at me, then at her fella, then back to me, and said: "You know when you have a dream and..." before tailing off in apparent delirium. The bar was set high.
And justifiably so. What was a few weeks ago London's hippest gaff (my visit means it's clearly passé), nestling on top of the former Goldsmiths Tavern in New Cross, is fantastic (if you want the back-story about the van and that, google it, lazy arse).
From the moment you walk in you can tell it's a bit good, the service is spot on and the waiting staff excellent. You get a number, get a drink, (eventually) get a table then put your order in when your number's called. It's a nifty trick to make something which, on the face of it looks fairly shambolic, run so smoothly.
But this is a slick operation - and it starts with the bar. Bottled Meantime lager, and fair play that amber stuff is nice, or cocktails. You tell them the sort of stuff you like and they knock something up. Mine, some sort of whisky sour thing with an egg in it, was ace.
I dined with a guest, it's not all mine
And so to the food. Pictured right is a bacon cheeseburger, onion rings, and a cheeseburger (chilli chips are out of shot). Taking them in order, the burgers are amazing - big and not remotely greasy, despite how they look in the pics. Really well packed so there's no collapsing like you get in some big burgers. And the taste - man alive, they're superb.
The onion rings are great too, really light and tasty. If you go, you have to have them. The chips are last - a real afterthought. I'd seen a few plates of these skinny wretches being dished up so went for the chilli-cheese option, which was - again - delicious. The chips become something for the chilli to stick to. Probably the chilli was the thing that pushed me over the edge. We ate at 8pm and I was still stuffed at 1am.
It had an egg in it! It wasn't this bright though
An interesting crowd in there, and pretty much as I'd expected. Seemed Goldsmiths-ish but the prices are not really student friendly (£7 for a burger, similar for a cocktail, £3.50 I think for a bottle of beer).
On my visit, the punters were almost exclusively white. There were a lot of thick-rimmed specs on display and, I suspect, a lot of people drifting down on the East London Line.
One lad said to his chum, whose haircut was the equal of any CBeebies presenter: "At last! New Cross is connected to the rest of London!" Ignoring the high frequency train services which take five minutes to get to London Bridge, by "the rest of London" he meant "Highbury & Islington".
Apparently they're finishing for good on 16 April, with rumours of a switch up the road to Greenwich (but that's not even on the tube! How will Dalston Ted get there?), but Lewisham council should be moving heaven and earth to keep this thing in the borough. To let something as good as this slip away would be insane (you can follow them on Twitter, @themeatwagonuk, to get the latest). Recommended.

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