Since the extension of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) from Stratford, south of the Thames to Lewisham, we don’t even have to go through central London to get there anymore. So yesterday we decided to drop down there for lunch. Now there is something about the DLR that brings out my inner child especially if we can get one of the seats at the front of the driverless carriages.
You also get some splendid views of London’s Olympic Park and the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf.
Just around the corner from Cutty Sark DLR Station was the object of our expedition, Tai Won Mein.
Dining at Tai Won Mein is a pretty basic affair. A laminated menu does for your place setting at the plain wooden tables and if they are very busy expect to make some new friends as benches fill up. While the menu won’t win any prizes for innovation, once your order is taken, the food is plentiful, cheap and comes freshly cooked from the kitchen, even if this does mean that your planned starter arrives during your main course!
We kicked off with the deep-fried squid. Now I have eaten squid in a lot of restaurants around the world and I can happily say that Tai Won Mein’s squid is some of the best I have ever had. Simply seasoned with salt and pepper the lightly battered squid just melts in your mouth, no old rubber bands here.
My main course was a bit less exotic, but I really love sweet and sour chicken so I wasn’t disappointed with this massive plate load for £4.95.
When the time of reckoning finally came around, what with beer, soft drinks, chips and curry sauce the bill only came to about £45 for the four of us. Don’t expect to pay with plastic at Tai Won Mein, they only take cash.
So stuffed with noodles we decided to have a look at how work was progressing on the Cutty Sark after 2007’s devastating fire nearly destroyed the venerable old tea clipper.
From what we could see, through the barriers, it looked like she would soon be ready to receive visitors once again, however we had an appointment to keep with another kind of clipper at Greenwich Pier.
Despite having lived in or close to London for most of my life I had never set foot aboard a Thames Clipper before yesterday. These catamarans ply the Thames between Woolwich and Central London and they are surprisingly nippy (28 knots). It seemed like only a few minutes before we were disembarking at Tower Bridge (fare £4.95 with an Oyster Card £5.50 without).