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Cheap Eats in Greenwich

by Cornelia 

Posted: 26 February 2006
Word Count: 988
Summary: An exercise I did for my Journalism class -short Restaurant Reviews modelled on the ‘Guardian Weekend’ monthly ‘Readers Restaurants’ column.

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Goddards Pie House

45 Greenwich Church Street
Greenwich SE10 9BL
020 8293 9313

Open Monday –Friday 10am to 6.30pm
Saturday and Sunday, 10.am-7.30pm

This pie and mash emporium of Dickensian fascia and quasi- workhouse atmosphere – narrow marble-topped tables and benches with wooden boards underfoot – was founded by Alfred Goddard in 1890. Order at the counter from a range of baked-on-the-premises, traditional pie and mash, (liquor made to a secret recipe) pasties and sausage rolls, plus jellied eels, mugs of tea and ribsticker puddings like spotted dick and plum crumble and sweet pies, all with custard, if you can find room. No gourmet experience, but solid, filling traditional ‘Olde Englisshe Fayre’ in the heart of Greenwich. They even have a vegetarian ‘Banks’ pie named in honour of late MP Tony Banks, then Sports Minister, who saved this and other shops from demolition in the run-up to the Millennium. To eat in or take away. Wine and Beer is available. Function details on request.

Taste of India

43 Greenwich Church Street
Greenwich SE10
0208 858 2668 or 0208 858 1380

12pm-12am daily, buffet 12pm-3pm

If, like my husband, your fancies are more upmarket than your means - prince’s tastes, pauper’s pockets, as my mum used to say, you will enjoy the pristine surroundings and starched napery of the quietly unpretentious Taste of India. Located a few steps away from Ottakars Bookshop, and in the shadow of the Cutty Sark, it offers an every-day lunch-time buffet meal for £4.95. Silver-covered hotplates to the rear of the white-walled salon open to reveal an assortment of meat, chicken and vegetarian curries plus chutneys, puppodoms and rice. Beer and Wine are available from the polite waiters but a glass of tap water is readily supplied on request. For the footsore and weary there is no finer restorative , on a summer’s, or even winter’s day, than to watch the tourists go by from a window table in this air-conditioned oasis of calm. You’d swear you could hear the quiet breathing of the punkah wallahs

Fountain Food Court

Greenwich Church Street
Open Saturday and Sundays in summer


Handily situated next to the antiques and collectables market in Greenwich, and sharing the same air of tacky charm, this is the place for tasty food at rock-bottom prices. Order from any one of the open-sided vans where food ranges from French Crepes with a selection of fillings to Thai, Indian and Chinese dishes, from green chicken curry and rice to spicy Singapore noodles, served on polystyrene platters with plastic forks, costing from £3.50. There’s a fresh-fruit juice bar and tea, coffee and fizzy drinks as well as an ice-cream and hot dogs stall. Very popular with families, you’ll need to skirt around the baby buggies and ignore the screaming toddlers. Add whatever sauce takes your fancy from a plastic bottle and then take a slatted seat at one of the tin tables. The choice is yours – out in the courtyard near the fountain (no water, but comes with statue) if the weather suits or, my favourite when the mid-day sun is hot on the neck or I can feel a spot of rain, under the plastic awning of the ramshackle shed at the back. Enjoy a ringside view of Hawksmoor’s imposing St Alphege’s church opposite and, for even more casual dining, perch on the low wall of the raised municipal flower bed. You won’t be on your own.

Tai Won Noodle House

39 Greenwich Curch Street
London SE10 9BL
Tel 020 8858 1668/2688

Open every day 11.30am-11.30pm

My personal favourite, with a clientele of studenty couples, and a staff of lively youngsters, the bright yellow décor of the Tai Won Noodle House is only a hop and a skip away from Ottakars bookshop and the DLR. Service is efficient and food is plentiful, tasty and cheap. Dishes, printed on your paper table mat, are based on different kinds of noodles, in sauces or soups, and rice plain or boiled with a range of proteins and vegetables. My personal favourite is number 10, comprising a dozen large succulent prawns with noodles in a flavoursome broth, topped with fresh chopped coriander, served in a ‘Tai Won’, or ‘big bowl’.The food is fresh and the surroundings clean, but you can become addicted. There are 60 or so main dishes costing either £3.40 or £3.95, and some cheaper starters, but you are unlikely to manage two courses. House wine is available at £8.00 a bottle, as is Chinese or Carlsberg beer, but the fresh fruit juice drinks are a popular choice and for me the Japanese tea at 80p is the prefect accompaniment.

The Gate Clock , JD Wetherspoons Pub

Cutty Sark DLR Station
Creek Road
Greenwich SE10 9RB
Open 11am-11pm
0871 984 3696

There are plenty of crowded, dirty and overpriced pubs in Greenwich named after naval heroes or maritime battles, but tucked away in the passageway where you access the DLR station is one of the best pubs in the JD Wetherspoons chain , housed in a new building that was part of the small-shop complex built for the Millennium. The tourists don’t seem to know it’s there, or maybe they get waylaid by McDonalds. This is our favourite when we have the grandchildren in tow, as it has a family area and a kid’s menu. The food offers a variety of choices, a two-for-£5.99 special adults deal plus a fine selection of real ales. Walls are decorated with paintings from local artists and informative prints that rival those in the nearby Greenwich Observatory. On a hot day you can sit at one of the tables on an outside terrace with an overhang for welcome shade, and a hangover in the afternoon if you are not careful. The drinks are around half the price of a regular Greenwich pub and the Thursday Curry Club is cheaper than any other South London JD's.

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Comments by other Members

James Graham at 17:25 on 26 February 2006  Report this post
This is one kind of journalism I wouldn't have minded doing - getting paid for doing the rounds of places like these! These reports are both lively and informative. You pack everything in - decor and atmosphere as well as the food, and special points of interest like the 'Banks pie' or the nearby Ottakar's. A good cheap resaurant next door to a bookshop - perfect. You've also chosen a variety of restaurants, so that most readers would find at least one that appealed to them. For myself, I don't know how I'd decide between the first two - but would probably throw all notions of healthy eating to the winds and go for Goddards.


Cornelia at 20:58 on 26 February 2006  Report this post
An excellent choice, and thank you ,James - you could save the others for return visits to Greenwich!


Richard Brown at 19:46 on 27 February 2006  Report this post
Beautifully crafted, Sheila - mouth-wateringly so. You should find instant employment as a restaurant critic! (I know one who works for a local newspaper. Nice work if you can get it. Somehow she stays slim).

I liked the Google ads triggered by your pieces; pie, meat, recipe and Greenwich Condos! Good old Google.


Account Closed at 19:52 on 27 February 2006  Report this post
I started reading this the other day but had to stop as it made me feel hungry! Your reviews have made me want to visit Greenwich. I liked the personal touches - your husband's comments, the locations and the descriptions of the clientele. Can't wait for some good weather and sitting outside on the terraces...

Thanks for the experience, Sheila - do you have a local paper that might be interested? (you should get sponsored by the restaurants!)


Cornelia at 21:17 on 27 February 2006  Report this post
Thanks, Elspeth and Richard. I really groaned when we got to resstaurant reviewing on my course, because I tend to think of eating as refuelling, which is probably why I'm such as aficionado of cheap eating places and why I get so fat on a diet of pasties at railway stations. To tell the truth, my favourite place of all is the Cotton Room at the British Library, complete with my flask of soup and a box of sandwiches I prepared earlier. There's a machine that's moody but will usually deliver a drink for 30p, and a concrete Chinese roof garden off which is good for summer. However, I'm more often in Greenwich these days.

As for sponsorship, I think the more ethical food critics try to visit incognito and not be paid by the eating houses. In fact I read an article today about how tricky it can be once a critics face is known. According to the article, Gordon Ramsay has a laminated card of leading critics faces which he circulates to his staff.

Thanks for the marketing suggestion, Elspeth. Maybe I could try a local freebie called Meridian, and there's always the Blackheath Gazette, but they are both extremely snooty and tend to have their own (semi-literate) restaurant critics. Meioww...


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