Food for thought: Our friends in the south

Good food and south-east London are not words that you'll find written together very often. Pick up any reputable restaurant guide and you can guarantee that there'll be scant reference to eating establishments in the bottom right-hand corner of the capital.

But now, as Mandy's dome goes up (right) and property prices in the area do the same, an increasing number of new restaurants are opening in what was, until recently, pretty much social Siberia.

One Lawn Terrace, which opened for business in a former print works in Blackheath last October, is being joined by The North Pole, a restaurant and bar in Greenwich, this week, and another Blackheath restaurant, Chapter Two, in a few weeks' time.

Shaun Wilson, formerly of Beach Blanket Babylon, who is opening the 100- seat North Pole restaurant and bar just along from Greenwich station with his business partner Robbie O'Neill, feels that the area is crying out for places like his.

"Greenwich seems to be a culinary desert and certainly a desert as far as a decent bar is concerned. There's a Cafe Rouge and a good noodle bar but not much else," he says.

"Robbie was born here and lives nearby and he's been saying for some time that south-east London needs something good.

"The Millennium dome has got people's interest, though I don't think we'll actually get a lot of trade from it - and, the general feeling is that things here are beginning to take off," Wilson adds enthusiastically.

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