Village East, Bermondsey, London
NYC meets South London in this outstanding eaterie
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We always love checking out a sexy new restaurant, and Village East is one of the sexiest eateries we've chowed down at for some time!
As soon as we walked in, the NYC vibe was unmistakeable. Right in the heart of the increasingly trendy Bermondsey Road, Village East is a stunning, multi-level cavern of brick, concrete, metal and gorgeous lighting. Somewhat industrial but with a heart. We were sat next to the long bar in a spacious booth - ideal for people watching, cute waiter spotting and having a nosy at cocktails the bar staff are mixing up. The waiting staff are warm, knowledgeable and attentive too, enthusiastically recommending signature dishes and up for a cheeky giggle. This is exactly the kind of service we look for in a restaurant like this - down to earth but efficient.
The food also receives high marks. The starters were wonderful; and we shared burrata with pear and fennel (not bad), moorish lamb (awesome) and potted duck (absolutely outstanding; the kumquat marmalade was the perfect companion). The main meals raised the bar even higher, particularly their confit turkey leg with rice krispies - yes, you read that right. It may sound a little weird but it definitely went snap, crackle and pop on our tastebuds. And also a massive big-up to their cheeseburger, which my dining partner and I eagerly shared until there was not a shred of beef left on the plate. Melt in the mouth meat and perfect trimmings, we have to say, this was probably one of the best burgers we've ever tasted!
Cocktail-wise, there's a huge range on offer, and we managed to plough through half the menu (all in the name of a well-rounded review you understand) with The Herbalist and Rum and Raisin proving to be our favourites, but all of the ones we tried were seriously top-draw and mixed to perfection.
The crowd was a mix of 20/30/40something locals, business types from the local area (The Shard building looms over the skyline very near to Bermondsey Street) and more than the odd gayer. The ambiance really was just perfect.
It's very rare we get to write such a gushing review - they make us look like we'll enjoy any old cobblers don'tchaknow - but trust us when we say, we know our food, we know our restaurants and Village East ticked many of the right boxes for us. Reasonably priced, with mains coming in the £10-15 range, and the place was rather busy for a Monday night. Certainly worth a visit.
Village East is at 171-173 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1. Find out more information at the Village East website.
Words: Lee Dalloway