It looks as though the Cactus Pit is going to become a CAU restaurant. (Planning application was here
, but won’t load for me currently). They specialise in Argentinian beef according to their restaurant website
, which mentions other branches in Cambridge and Guildford.
So thirty seconds walk from a lovely Argentinian beef restaurant, Blackheath residents are going to have a second one. I really hope it doesn’t damage Buenos Aires, as its probably the nicest restaurant in the village (even for vegetarians).
(Thanks to the anonymous bugler who spotted the application). Image above shows the CAU restaurant in Guildford.
The Bookshop on the Heath has interesting books about Turkey in its windows. Never read The Eunuch of Stamboul, but according to this blog post, looks like an entertaining read. Apparently it was also made into a film in 1936, which can be viewed for free at the BFI’s Mediatheque.
Speaking of Turkey, Blackheath’s dabbling with Turkish food has come to a close. Not a huge surprise given some of the competition nearby. It was never a great place, as many of the reviews here have mentioned. Will Cote be any better?
As mentioned in a previous post, the restaurant next to Buenos Aires Cafe has turned into Fistik Kebab Brasserie. Leaving aside whether “kebab” and “brasserie” should ever appear next to each other, the food is actually not bad.
We went last weekend (Mrs Bugle and myself, plus another Turkish friend). The meze (hot and cold small dishes – not necessarily starters), were fine, and the kebab (I’m told) was nice too. The decor still looks a little unfinished in places, and they’ve kept the large-breasted statues that were a “feature” of the previous incarnation.
On the whole though, it’s a big improvement. The music was pleasant, gentle, slightly melancholic Turkish pop songs floating in the background, and if you sit looking towards the Bookshop on the Heath, you can see all of village life wander by. The service was friendly, but not over-friendly. We asked for Turkish coffee, but they didn’t have any – they promised that they’d get some in soon, but the espresso was fine.
The prices were reasonable – much cheaper than Chapters or Buenos, pretty much comparable to Pizza Express or Giraffe. It’s not the most amazing Turkish restaurant in London (Hazev in Canary Wharf or Tas Pide by the Globe Theatre are better), but it’s really great to have one in Blackheath. As it was lunchtime, we didn’t check to see whether they sell Rakı, but we’ll hopefully go back one evening to double-check. Wandering past the place today, it looked much busier than the previous restaurant ever did. I wonder if they’ll remove the dots from “Fıstık” eventually…
Thought it was time to drop you another quick note. Firstly, I wanted to recommend Pizzada – I went there last night with my girlfriend to try it out and had a very tasty dinner, with notably excellent service. They’re definitely going to be out pizza takeaway of choice now.
Also, I didn’t know if you’d seen (or cared about!) the new park benches that have just appeared. There’s one on the green to the left as you walk from the village to the Hare And Billet, inscribed with “Violet and George Smyth – 2008”, and another one up on the heath just past the aforementioned pub. I’m intrigued as to who thinks it’s the season for park benches though…
Anyone taken a photo of the bench, or know about Violet and George Smyth? Anyway – thanks for suggesting it, and will try Pizzada soon!
Through the power of the Bugle’s new Twitter account – Siobhan has supplied a photo of the mysterious new benches!
I had a note from Roger (suggestions always welcome here), saying that he:
Can’t wait for the new Chapters to open. Have you entered the competition at http://chaptersrestaurants.com/competition/process.php The advert in Meridian Magazine says that entrants will get a discount voucher.
Meridian magazine isn’t usually the first thing I rush for when the post arrives – it seems to be full of puff-pieces about below average restaurants, or bland soft-stories that could be about anywhere. But aside from that, Chapter Two is such a great place, and Blackheath is lucky to have them.
As you can see from the photo (taken Friday 8th August), the building work is coming on well. I don’t know whether they will fill your front hall with junk mail should you sign up, but they are offering a trip to New York, and the website also illustrates how the redesigned restaurant will look. When you sign up, they say they’ll send you a 10% voucher for use with your first meal.
Now, it might be total hearsay (all my best posts usually are), but having asked one of the decorators in the place next door, he says that The Laughing Buddha is going to turn into an Indian Restaurant. Which is a bit of a shame to be honest – there are quite a few already, some very good, and many reasonable. But there was only one other Chinese place. Oh well, if anyone can confirm it, please let me know.
The photo was taken by me, through the only bit of window that wasn’t all smeared up with that white stuff that shops use to cover up glass. There used to be a sign up saying “temporarily closed for renovations”, but it seems to have been taken down now.
It looks as though The Laughing Buddha has finally stopped laughing. The Chinese restaurant, which is next to Chapter Two seems to be closed. The sign says for refurbishment works, but I’m not sure. It seems like a bit of a coincidence that both places are shutting up shop at the same time… Maybe Chapter Two are expanding into the Buddha’s space? I hope it isn’t closing, as I never even got a chance to go in there – I’d always intended to but never quite had the right moment.
So, much like The Dacre Arms, The Spice of Life is a lovely place, just outside Blackheath. I had to investigate, after seeing so many positive comments about the place, on this blog, and on loads of other web sites. Comments along the lines of “this is my favourite Indian restaurant, I’ve been going there for fifteen years, etc etc”.
So off we went on Thursday evening. And it wasn’t empty, but it was quiet. It was smaller than I expected, but very welcoming and friendly looking.. To be honest, the decor looked as though it hadn’t changed since the mid eighties, (which matched the music nicely). But who cares, because the food was absolutely first rate.
Delicious and light, not too fiery, a really nice blend of flavours. We’re not meat eaters, so can’t comment on that, but the saag paneer, and vegetable dopiaza were lovely, along with some pilau rice, a chipati, and some yoghurt. Great stuff.
They also had a very mysterious looking orange sauce with the poppadoms. When we asked, we were told that it was the chef’s own invention, and that it was based on carrots. And the whole lot came to £25.60 including drinks for two people. The only downside is that they don’t deliver (but you can pick up a take-away).
260 Lee High Rd
London, SE13 5PL
Google map here.
Tried the Taste of Raj for the first time the other night, and was pleasantly surprised! I think we’d avoided it for a while, as the Mountain View and Everest Inn were closer to us. Also, it always looked empty whenever I walked past, which is usually a bad sign.
But actually, it was much nicer than the food I’ve had from the other two curry places in Blackheath. Not so keen on the food at Mountain View, and the service at the Everest Inn tends to be a bit erratic.
I think the reason Taste of Raj always looks empty is due to a seating area towards the rear of the restaurant that isn’t visible from outside.
We had the (vegetarian) tandoori paneer, vegetable thali, poppadoms, and chipati, all of which were very nice, and probably too much for two people. We had a slightly dead-looking rose on our table, but the service was quick and helpful – our orders were scribbled down, and dropped into a drain-pipe next to the bar (which presumably goes to the kitchen!).
Anyway, a pleasant surprise – cheaper, more local, and more interesting than another Bombay Bicycle take-away.
9 Royal Parade, Blackheath Village, Blackheath London SE3.
Tel: 0181 244 2823.
Open from noon to 2.30pm – 6pm to Midnight all week. Google Map here.
Strada is probably in danger of becoming the current decade’s equivalent of the Berni Inn. They seem to be ubiquitous, cheap, and very popular. However, unlike Berni, the food is quite tasty. It isn’t going to give Chapter Two or Buenos Aires a run for their money, but if you’re knackered after work, and can’t face cooking, it’s perfect for a takeaway.
I know it’s a big evil chain etc etc, and I should probably be endorsing Blackheath’s own Sun Bo, or one of the slightly nondescript Indian restaurants, but they don’t seem to get my custom as often.
Vegetarian tip of the day – they don’t do mushroom pizzas, but they have a special code-phrase that enables a mushroom pizza… “Cotto with no ham”. Last time I tried this, the waitress told me that it was a bit silly to order a ham pizza with no ham, and it would be cheaper to make it from a margherita with extra toppings… Then she checked it, and agreed that the Cotto sans cotto was the cheaper option. The asparagus risotto is nice too.
From their site:
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 12noon till 11pm. Sunday 12noon till 10.30pm.
Telephone: 020 8318 6644
Google Map here.