Greenwich City FarmPosted: November 6, 2012
Everyone’s been getting a bit exercised of late about the chainification of Greenwich’s restaurants. First it was Nando’s and Frankie & Benny’s down by the pier, then Jamie Oliver, bish bosh, moving into the old Bar du Musée, and now, this very week, comes news that Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ’n’ Biscuits has taken on the lease of the Rivington Grill for its first outlet outside North Carolina. Even so, I wasn’t remotely prepared for what I saw this afternoon, as I stopped to gaze wistfully at the locked door of Ristorante Soteri and wonder, not for the first time, just how special the Chef’s Special cottage pie had really been: a notice taped to the window bearing the unmistakable logo of Mudchute City Farm. Now, I never had Mudchute City Farm down as particularly expansionist; they always seemed perfectly happy over there on the island, serving up Tuscan sausages or vegetable crumble in a slightly ramshackle shed by the goat pens. So the idea that, even as I stood here peering at Signore Soteri’s sadly stripped interior, teams of Gloucester Old Spots might be tugging trolleys laden with seasonal ingredients and locally sourced vegetables through the foot tunnel to a new outpost in Greenwich, right next door to Goddard’s Pies, was a tantalising one.
As I was pondering this, three girls emerged out of the sun.
“Can we ask you some questions?” one of them said. “It’s for school.”
“OK,” I said, shielding my eyes.
“What did you think of the Olympics?” said the same girl, reading from a small strip of paper.
I pondered, trying – and failing – to place her accent.
“I liked them,” I said.
She turned and glared at the girl next to her.
“He says he liked them,” said this second girl to the third, who nodded, and wrote something down on a piece of paper attached to a clipboard.
The first girl turned back to me.
“Are you proud that England held the games?”
“Pleased, not proud,” I said. And I was going to go on to tell her why it’s not really possible to be proud of something you’ve not yourself actually done, in the same way that I’m pleased to be British, and sometimes relieved, but never proud, because proud makes no sense. But she’d already turned to stare silently at the second girl, who was relaying my reply to the girl with the clipboard.
“He’s pleased not proud.”
I shrugged inwardly, and waited for the next question.
“Do you know how much it cost?”
“How much it cost? No, not exactly, I…”
“He doesn’t know,” said the second girl to the third.
The first girl smiled brightly.
“Thank you very much,” she said.
And off they trotted, leaving me staring once more at the poster for Mudchute City Farm. I like the thought of pigs in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College. Opposite the Old Brewery, perhaps?
I wonder if they were Brazilian, from Rio?