IMAGINE describing scampi to a Martian, because they would probably come back with something remarkably similar to the mush I ate at The George Staples.

There was a sort of rough breadcrumb exterior and a whitish booger interior, so on paper it was nearly there I guess.

But this horrid approximation of a pub grub classic was only one component of a meal that looked and tasted as though it had moments before been ripped from the plastic of Iceland packaging.

Even the peas were like green musket balls, and being poorly drained, the moisture penetrated my scampi which made matters even worse.

Some of the blame must rest on my shoulders. No great meal has ever begun with curly fries so I have no idea why I panicked and said yes when given the option over regular chips, much less why I allowed myself to be charged extra for such pain.

And people wonder why PubSpy rarely eats.

It must be said, however, that expectations were not high.

Given the garish laminated menus, cheapish prices and big banners explaining how to order food, I had an inkling that this Blackfen boozer may not be the Fat Duck.

Despite the food, I actually quite liked The George Staples. It’s tidy and spacious and doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not.

There are TVs and places to sit and friendly, down-to-earth staff who were happy to help.

It had all the usual suspects on the bar and a trio of ales thrown in.

And while you would expect to see a tumble weed blowing through most pubs in the month when punters are either skint or giving up booze, there was a decent spattering of clients on a weekday afternoon.

Sadly, though, it does sort of resemble a soulless dining room – which wouldn’t be so bad if the food was good.

The George Staples, Blackfen Road, Sidcup

How it rated:

Decor*** Bit bland, but pleasant
Price**** Reasonable
Atmosphere*** Considering my timing, it was good
Staff **** Very nice, hardworking
Food* That’s why PubSpy’s don’t shop at Iceland