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Review: Kings Arms, Greenwich
Shop owners are understandably a bit gutted the Olympics hasn’t delivered the overwhelming stream of deep-pocketed tourists it promised.
With London being called a ‘ghost town’ in the news, I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for all the empty restaurants and bars across the capital – I even heard one B&B owner say business is worse than when 9/11 hit.
Precious punters seem to be rarer than a hen’s tooth.
Walking past Greenwich Park on Tuesday, it was wonderful to hear the roars of applause coming from the equestrian fans – but as dead as a dodo on the streets outside.
On the other hand, it’s quite nice not having to queue behind 3,000 visitors to get a drink, and everyone seems uncharacteristically cheery.
The Kings Arms, a stone’s throw away from the action, was shockingly empty when I got there to meet a friend for lunch – we had the pick of the pub and the charming beer garden was calling.
Deciding it was wine time, my companion went for a large glass of house white and I chose a marvellously fruity merlot (£10.30 all together).
Eavesdropping on a conversation the barmaid was having, it seems Monday night was actually heaving at this regal boozer.
“We were swamped last night and there were only two of us.” She told a punter.
“It’s been dead all week and all of a sudden we were packed – we weren’t prepared for it.”
Wow, I imagine tons of landlords have just turned green with envy.
But I can see why you’d want to come here for a post-Olympic knees up.
As my friend described it, the deco really is “traditional English olde-worlde” and the staff were buzzing with the infectious joy of the Games.
They also have a great choice of ales and lagers to choose from including Doom Bar on tap.
Stepping into the lovely garden, I was instantly grateful to see the TV screen showing the sports – you don’t have to miss a minute of the competitions.
The all-important screen even has its own little umbrella to shield it from the constantly annoying summer rain.
A few more drinkers had turned up when I ventured inside to order food – in fact, the place was starting to look, dare I say it, quite busy.
My awkward chum asked for the lasagne (£8.45) but with chips rather than the garlic ciabatta it comes with.
Luckily the spunky barman was more than happy to oblige and tapped the request into the till’s computer, sending a separate message simply saying ‘please’.
“It never hurts.” He grinned.
I went for the supposedly parmesan crumbed chicken with green beans, sundried tomatoes and rocket (£10.45).
Although there wasn’t a trace of parmesan to my taste, the food was delicious with a very generous serving of gorgeous greens and tiny chunks of blue cheese.
It’s definitely more than I’d usually spend on lunch, but you get what you pay for – yummy.
On the way out I caught a native saying, “Everyone in London’s been so friendly and smiley – I wish it could be this way all the time.”
Address: 16, King William Walk, Greenwich, London, SE10 9JH
Decor: *** (traditional English olde-worlde)
Drink: ****(lots of wine, beer and ale to choose from)
Price: ** (a little painful on the purse)
Atmosphere: *** (friendly, welcoming)
Staff: **** (very down to earth, lovely people)