Masala Wala moped muppets

Masala Wala is the second Brockley Cross business to suffer a smashed front window in recent weeks after The Brockley Deli was on the receiving end of a similarly gratuitous act of vandalism before Christmas.

Nothing was stolen, but this is a cost that would hurt any small business.

Sanxia Renjia, 36 Deptford Broadway

Given the fairly abject state of Chinese food options locally, I thought this review of Deptford's Sichuan and Hubei cuisine specialist, Sanxia Renjia, worth sharing with you, just as Monkeyboy shared it with me.

The Observer's Jay Rayner describes it as "an arse-kicking, cheek-slapping, thigh-spanking, gloriously ring-burning Sichuan restaurant." He continues:

Sanxia is on a different mission. Yes, they do have a list of Cantonese standards. The unadventurous of Blackheath must have their hit of sweet and sour pork. But the staff, like the rest of the menu, are eager. They want you to march across unexplored territory.

It appears they even managed to convince Mr Crispy Duck. As he was paying, we heard him complaining that the chicken with red chillies had a greater volume of chillies than chicken. Which is exactly as it’s meant to be. The drifts of crisp-fried red chillies are there for the aromatics, to be dug through in search of the treasure. They are not there for eating.

They are, however, very pretty, which is great because the room isn’t much of a looker. The big light is on. The floor is a white marble slab, as if it’s an airport baggage reclaim hall. Outside the traffic thunders by, on its way to places too manicured to inspire a song by Squeeze. Pay attention instead to what is in your bowl. What’s most striking about the food here is the commitment to light and shade. Dinner in a Sichuan restaurant is usually food as action movie. It’s all bash and crack.

For the full review, click here.

Campaign opposes cuts to children's mental health services in Lewisham

A petition has been launched to protect Lewisham's mental health services from Council cuts. The campaigners say:

Lewisham Council is planning to cut children’s mental health (CAMHS) funding by £150,000 over the next 2 years.  This follows a £94,000 cut last year and is on top of NHS efficiency savings demanded by the government.

The proposed cut will happen at a time when we are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis in the NHS- caused by seven years of inadequate health and social care funding by the Conservative and coalition governments.  Lewisham council have been forced to cut £153 million from their total budget, with more cuts to come.

The Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign, together with staff, patients and their parents, believe the current situation cannot continue - more money is desperately needed, not less!

At least 3 jobs will be lost, on top of 2 jobs that were lost last year. This equates to hundreds of appointments a year disappearing.

- Waiting lists, already too long, will get longer.
- Clinicians will be forced to make impossible decisions about which cases are less serious, which children will have to wait longest and who will not get the best care.
- More children will go to A&E if these cuts happen.  When young people are in crisis, they often attend A&E because community services are overstretched.  This is distressing for them, it is not the suitable environment and it adds pressure to the hospitals.

We believe that every mental health problem has the potential to become critical if untreated - especially for children and young people.  Lewisham has a number of risk factors that mean our young people’s mental health is worse than average. We cannot afford to increase this risk by increasing the number of children not receiving adequate help in the community.

As well as signing and sharing this petition you can help by:

Joining us to lobby the council -  Wednesday, 17th January at 6.45pm
Coming to our public meeting on Tuesday, 6th February @ 7.30pm @ New Cross Learning
Attending a protest outside the council meeting on 21st February which will have the final power to ratify the proposed cuts.

East London Line closure due to safety fears

The lack of ELL service this morning is due to problems with the trains. The BBC reports:

"Services on the London Overground network have been disrupted after engineers were forced to take trains off the tracks amid "safety" fears.

"Part of the braking system is understood to have fallen off from one of its trains "within the last week".

"As a result the network's branches to Croydon, Crystal Palace, New Cross Gate and Highbury and Islington have all been forced to close.

"TfL say the "extra safety checks" has resulted in a "shortage of trains".

"The problems have caused severe delays on other parts of the network at Richmond, Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction."

The London Overground twitter feed says:

"Customers for the North & East London Lines are strongly advised to use alternatives routes. There is no estimated time when this issue will be resolved. Updates will be posted on the feed."

Mamma Dough Ladywell Begins

Hey Prezzo! Work has started on the new Mamma Dough restaurant in Ladywell Village.

Ladywell's pizza Pilgrims teased us with a glimpse of their new oven before Christmas, which arrived Express delivery.


Ladywell residents must be hoping for a Domino effect, as a new restaurant will add critical mass to the high street. Let's be Franco, there are still too few places to eat to serve the hungry denizens of SE13 - there is no chance this Hut will Fold.

Bite Mi - Best Newcomer 2017

Congratulations to Vietnamese cafe Bite Mi, winner of Brockley Central's Best Newcomer Award for the best new local high street business of 2017.

In the first re-ballot in the award's history, the top three were:

Bite Mi - 34%
Saka Maka - 27%
Parlez - 18%

Bite Mi is a fast, friendly cafe with a simple and authentic menu that has consistently drawn the crowds since it opened in February. With the recent departure of Coulgate Street's Mo Pho, it filled a hole in Brockley's culinary landscape and its stomachs.

This is the third time in four years that a Brockley Cross business has collected the Award, a remarkable turnaround for an undeniably ugly patch of SE4, which was once best known for gang violence and bad parking.

It's also worth noting that this is yet another independent winner, drawn from an all-independent field. The closest we came in 2017 to seeing a chain open in Brockley was the arrival of Gently, the sister store of previous winner Gently Elephant.

When Tesco opened on Lewisham Way a decade ago, many predicted it would herald the end of independent Brockley. Instead, the last ten years have been a golden age for local startups. While the supermarkets have moved in with a vengeance, they are surrounded by high-quality, adventurous and successful local businesses.

With the exception of Ladywell's El's Kitchen, which changed ownership but continues to flourish as The Larder, all of the previous eight winners continue to thrive to this day, while The Orchard, Brockley Market, Gently Elephant, The Brockley Deli and Masala Wala have all gone on to open more businesses in Brockley and beyond. That is an extraordinary record, of which they and we can be proud.

The Brockley Central Hall of Fame now looks like this:

Best Newcomer 2017 - Bite Mi
Best Newcomer 2016 - Cat Food
Best Newcomer 2015 - Masala Wala Cafe
Best Newcomer 2014 - The Brockley Deli
Best Newcomer 2013 - The Malaysian Deli
Best Newcomer 2012 - Gently Elephant
Best Newcomer 2011 - Brockley Market
Best Newcomer 2010 - El's Kitchen
Best Newcomer 2009 - The Orchard

Re-vote - Newcomer of the Year

Due to some extremely unusual voting behaviour and web traffic patterns during the recent poll for the Newcomer of the Year Award, I am re-running the vote to ensure the integrity of the result.

I prefer to keep everything on an open platform like this website, but in order to ensure that the result is not manipulated, I am instead going to run the vote on Facebook.

Sorry for the delay. Those of you who want to show your support for a local business, please head over to the Brockley Central Facebook Group to vote now. Voting will close on Friday night.

Brockley Central Label Cloud