WHEN it comes to eating out, delis aren’t usually my cup of tea. Small portions, overpriced and pretentious often spring to mind.

But I thought new year, new start, so I jumped on the train and headed to Hither Green Deli for a spot of mid-afternoon lunch.

Within seconds of walking in I was dealt a bread-based hammer blow. Just as I had set my heart, and belly, on a chunky chicken and sweetcorn panini, the lady behind the counter uttered the immortal words: “Only white and brown bread left, I’m afraid.” Utter devastation.

By this time I was starving and panicking, and blurted out the first sandwich available: “Chilli king prawns with avocado on brown bread, please”.

Just two slices? I thought there’s no way I would be satisfied by this. I’m usually a four-slice man and prawns, I never eat prawns, why did I order prawns?

Once I calmed down and took a seat with my can of coke, things took a turn for the better.

The two ladies behind the counter were extremely friendly and the service was excellent. My sandwich was brought over to me and I was even offered a glass for my can. Champion.

I’m no Greg Wallace but the prawns were moist, full of flavour, with just a hint of chilli which wasn’t too overpowering.

And when I discovered the damage to my wallet- £3 for the sandwich and 60p for the drink – I knew I had made the right choice.

I don’t often say this because I’m a tight northerner, but money well spent.

Hither Green Deli. 13 Staplehurst Road, London. SE13 5ND.

Food: **** Tasty and reasonably priced but let down by panini shortage

Service: ***** Very friendly, even the singing wasn’t bad

Interior: *** Interesting