REVIEW: BIG LOVE FOR BIG RED
Off the back of the whole 'women eating on the tube' fiasco, suddenly you're forced into wondering if you're going to be papped while chowing down on your coronation chicken cob on the Northern Line, or if that group of teenage boys crowding round that iPhone that's
pointing in your direction are about to make you Facebook famous with the caption 'Hungry on the 453'.
However, to assist and provide some relief, to feed you well and cheer you up - there is a remedy. A Big Red remedy. We celebrate eating on a London bus, and with good reason.
As some of you will know, I live in Deptford and have lived in the surrounding area for 4/5 years. Locally the community has grown and developed with a huge presence on social media and lovely new independent places popping up left, right and centre. If you're local to South East London, you'll be familiar with the Deptford Project Train Carriage Cafe on the High St, but while this takes some time off for further development, the Pizza Bus has swiftly driven its way into the Queen of Deptford spot.
I went to the taster evening as hosted by the Big Red, on Deptford Church Street, smack-bang next to The Bird's Nest, a five minute walk from Deptford station, a 15 minute walk from Greenwich and a 10 minute walk from New Cross. Fabulous location, you can see it half way down the street - you can't really miss the bright red, orange and yellow paint and neon lights.
As soon as I got there, David, who was our host for the evening, took my name and introduced me to Paul and John, the organiser and the owner. Both incredibly polite and welcoming, myself and my guest were lead to the taster's area. By looking at the bus, you'd assume that the seating is pretty limited - for those tall enough it might have posed a problem. However, the quirkiness of the venue isn't limited to the bus.
Obviously, the inside is super cosy and lush, but the outside is too. One thing I worried about is that the part outside of the bus would be cold and I'd have to wear my coat while eating - one of my all-time most loathed activities. I was pleasantly surprised to note that it was lovely and warm inside, despite having an outdoor area in such close proximity.
ANYWAY now for the fun stuff - THE FOOD!
(I apologise in advance for the quality of some of the photos, I only had my iPad since I lost my camera's memory card!)
First of all, it was time for a drink.
David and Rachel brought bottles of wine and jugs of water to each table, and we made friends with Lisa from
and her partner, who just so happened to be a wine connoisseur. He gave all the wine a big thumbs up, which is good enough for me.
This menu outlines everything we tried, and I mean EVERYTHING. I practically had to roll home afterwards.
Here we have the lentil salad with roasted peppers and tomatoes, roasted beetroot (who know that this was so good!?),
I had at least two or three helpings of the lentils and beetroot, both of them were to die for. Highly, highly recommended. The bread was freshly baked and served beautifully warm. I helped myself to a huge dollop of the caponata with salted ricotta, delicious and wholesome. The grilled chicken brochettes served with lemon, rosemary and and fresh salsa verde were equally divine.
Next, onto pasta dishes. The spaghetti with pesto, pine nuts and ricotta is one I hadn't taken a photo of, unfortunately, but it was about this time of the evening that we started losing the light and my photos deteriorated in quality somewhat rapidly. Anyway, the pasta was all homemade fresh, absolutely delicious. In particular the asparagus ravioli with chervil and lemon butter shone, I could have eaten the whole bowl happily.
Bigoli pasta with Italian sausage (YUM) and tomato sauce. Simple, traditional, gorgeous.
Pizza followed soon afterwards, and this is what we'd all been waiting for. This is where Big Red really excel. I try to avoid eating excessive amounts of gluten, purely because I dislike the way it makes me feel, so learning that Big Red offer
pizza bases made my night!
The pizza of the month - the 'Flower of Italy', served with artichoke hearts, caper berries, pecorino shavings and roasted peppers - well and truly divine.
Here we also see the famous 'White Pizza' - anchovy, garlic capers, buffalo mozzarella. I'm not an overly huge fan of anchovies, so this wasn't my favourite dish, but I heard a lot of pleasant 'mmms' coming from other people!
Here I feel it important to mention the significance of their Banoffee Pie. Like, seriously, I should write an entirely separate post on their Banoffee Pie. I
I'd managed to take some decent photographs to try and put across just how magical it was.
After tasting this pie, I've now decided that I'm going to be going to the Big Red on a VERY regular basis for a cheeky glass of wine and a slice of Banoffee Pie. I couldn't sing its praises enough.
The other two desserts were rich, chocolatey brownies (wish they were a bit gooier) and a Knickerbocker Glory with a kick - definitely laced with some sort of alcohol, my guess is on Sherry.
Now, the Big Red isn't just about food. While this is obviously the main reason you should visit, they also host a variety of community based activities.
Tuesday - Saturday Big Red is open from 12 for lunch, with different events happening each week. Tuesday evenings is a free Comedy night, showcasing up and coming and local talent. Wednesdays there is a free cinema, showing all sorts of cult films (child friendly on Sunday!), the list goes on.
The atmosphere is fantastic, creating a warm, friendly and inviting place to dine. Keep your eyes peeled on its progression over the summer months - they're building a beach in the outdoor decking area in the back, complete with sand, deck-chairs and Tiki-style bar! The staff there are also fantastic - big shout out to Dawn, Rachel and David, who took excellent care of us.
Considering I only live around the corner and I'd never been, my mistake has been rectified and then some. Their kitchen is open super late, usually until around midnight, so there's really no excuse to not give it a visit. See you there for a Prosecco cocktail and a massive plate of food at an incredibly reasonable price. You won't regret it!