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Review: Brockley Barge, Brockley
All you hear about these days is healthy this and five-a-day that.
We’re all going to die from eating too many juicy steaks, beef burgers and lamb chops, according to the government.
And stocking up on ‘super foods’ like Brazil nuts and blueberries is impossible to do without breaking the bank.
Even in the less than salubrious surrounds of the Brockley Barge I overheard a bald man in the corner lecturing his friend about salt intake, warning him never, ever to sprinkle the tasty seasoning on anything if he wants to live another day.
I couldn’t help but sneak a smirk as I watched this health and wellbeing expert sink his third pint of Guinness before 12pm.
With this modern-day dietary paranoia in my head, I was pleasantly surprised to see that this Wetherspoon pub and its punters have embraced healthy living.
Or should I say healthy eating – as remnants of St Patrick’s Day celebrations and upcoming Real Ale Festival banners prove they love ignoring the fact beer ain’t great for you.
A section of the menu is devoted to offering low-fat options, with a list of special meals containing less than 500 calories.
In the spirit of shedding the pounds I went for the Reggae Reggae Chicken Wrap (364 calories) with a side salad and a Diet Pepsi all for £6.39.
I know my Diet Pepsi is probably going to give me cancer, but at least I won’t get fat.
As I ordered, a bunch of young, unwashed teens wearing shades and rather rock star-esque outfits spilled into the pub looking as though last night had been a heavy one.
The cheapskate Almost Famous gang ordered “a few glasses of tap water” from the bar made themselves at home.
They’d probably spent all their cash on blueberries and nuts.
That kind of brazen Mick-taking annoys me in pubs, but they were probably one level nicer than the man who only came in to use the toilet.
I picked a high table and basked in the lovely sunlight beaming in from the big windows.
My hard-working tattooed barman was rushed off his feet as his dizzy colleague had to go for a sit down – but he held the fort expertly.
Still finding time to chat to the regulars and even provide table service for the Guinness enthusiast, he brought over my juicy wrap with a smile.
I discovered just because chips aren’t involved, it doesn’t mean lunch has to be unsatisfactory – yum.
The only thing that spoilt my lunch was watching a young guy gurning with a mouth-full of fried egg, trying to make his girlfriend giggle.
Like me though, the yolk dribbling down his chin only evoked a look of pure disgust on her face – know your audience mate.
Older regulars watched, bemused, as the rock star wannabes made their attention grabbing exit with one of the sunglasses-clad chicks being treated to a piggy-back ride.
The good news is this ‘Spoons is spacious enough to distance yourself from customers you’d rather not look at and it gets great light – plus the food’s not bad either.
How Brockley Barge rates:
DECOR: *** (community board, comfy seats and banners)
DRINK: **** (loads of beers and ales from around the world)
PRICE: **** (cheap and cheerful)
ATMOSPHERE: *** (friendly, quite an odd mix of customers)
STAFF: **** (efficient and hard-working with a smile to boot)
Address: 184 Brockley Road, Brockley, SE4 2RR