Village East is a New York Warehouse Style Brasserie Restaurant. This sounds a bit dubious, but the exposed brick walls and high ceilings in Southwark does indeed feel somewhat East Village/Noo Yawk. You must start with a cocktail perched at the bustling front bar. The Pear and Elderflower Collins was sensational and I had to keep reminding myself of its potency to restrain myself from drinking too many before dinner.
The dining room itself is tucked away towards the back of the space and set almost as a stage above it is the open kitchen. Great news if you are stuck for conversation as you can amuse yourself by watching the chefs at work. I was at Village East for Sarah’s 30th birthday and so of course, my dinner companions were perfectly entertaining so I tried not to spend too much time transfixed by the kitchen theatre.
The menu is typewritten and is a mix of classics along with some slightly more adventurous dishes. Entree of a salad of slivers of peppered veal, wild mushrooms and figs tossed with Gorgonzola dressing was light but still punchy (pictured). My main of a whole roasted sea bream was doused with smoked paprika, fennel and preserved lemon which cleverly enriched the flavour of the fish while not overwhelming it. MTV boyfriend thought his 9oz Rib eye steak which was served with accompanying peppercorn steak was overcooked. Upon pointing this out to the waiter a fresh steak cooked to perfection was quickly proffered along with additional sides. Well handled indeed by Village East.
We had chocolate cake for the birthday girl but MTV boyfriend could not resist doubling up on the desserts and trying the “Village brulee”. Luckily the Village brulee turned out to be a standard creme brulee and it was pronounced to be excellent and definitely up there with the best creme brulees. We could not resist more cocktails to finish off the meal and Village East was quite happy for everyone to linger around until they closed at around 2am making it a perfect venue for a party or celebration.
Details: 171-173 Bermondsey Street, Southwark SE1 3UW (Ph 020 7357 6082)
Damage: Reasonable (Set menu of £29.50 for three courses and sides)