Thursday 6 January 2011 7.25pm
Just adding my voice to the chorus of disappointment - I went into Sobo today and noticed the changes. I always distrust places that have photos of dishes outside, so I was pretty despondent when I saw that the new owner of Sobo has decided that this is in fact a good thing.
And as someone who (rightly or wrongly) thinks that there is a link between quality of food and quality of typography, the new menus on the tables don't inspire confidence.
On the upside, one of the former staff still works there - usually a morose young guy seemingly incapable of smiling, today he seemed quite chirpy and chatty.
What's happening on this stretch of Tower Bridge Road
is quite plain: reverse gentrification.
When I moved to this area in 2004, TBR seemed just the right mix of newer businesses like Sobo, The Hartley
, etc. and more traditional, less gentrified establishments like Manze's, The George, etc.
I liked the fact that Tower Bridge Road
seemed to have something for everyone: newer residents in the area as well as those who've lived here for generations. It wasn't too
Now both The Hartley
and Sobo are on a trajectory towards mediocrity; Crystal Plus is closing imminently; and the Lebanese delicatessen and greengrocer's cart just outside it are long gone, together with the Chinese place opposite. The arrival of Tesco or 'Lazzat Snackway' (if it ever opens) aren't enough to dispel a growing impression of terminal decline.