Escape from Village East?

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Sunday 13 October 2013 4.45pm
Been since the tart up? Been to the new Village East, or Alcatraz East as it seems after the Prison Cabbage Patch Chic makeover,? Well anyway it still has much to recommend it, great staff (new and old) and good food (albeit a smaller menu – strange given that the remake was supposedly all about a bigger kitchen – oh and the salmon “main course” is very definitely a starter). But if you have been sent to the death row prison cells – sorry the luxury banquette booths- in the middle, you will know what true cramp is like, you cannot move right or left at all, and forget trying to cross your legs, no matter how petite. And if you were rash enough to bring a bag or coat you will be consigned to a scrum in the entrance area – they put the cloakroom wardrobes in the small space by the door, so if there is more than one or two coming or going at the same time you will be exchanging bodily fluids with strangers – hey it could work?
They have at least dropped the compulsory ‘sharing’ menu – “you must share these plates – or you go to solitary confinement” – where do I sign up – does it have space?
Owners and designer, have you checked out the Union Street Café? Similar hues but it works much better and there is plenty of room to swing at least two cats, or more. Come on guys please, rip out the booths made from allotment detritus and just replace them with three tables and 12 chairs (don’t try to cram more covers in that the space can cope with) – and we can all have a nice relaxed evening? Nice relaxed evening – where did that concept come from – reminds me of something?
Sunday 13 October 2013 9.52pm
the regeneration of Village East has achieved something I had never thought possible...an even worse incarnation of what was there before.A poor menu, lack- lustre food, shambolic service (has anyone thought to actually train the staff?) ...it is the Greg's Kitchen of 2013. What makes Village East even worse though is the fact that it is surrounded by so many good quality restaurants. This place is totally out of place in what is becoming one of London's premier foodie destinations. Avoid.
Thursday 17 October 2013 10.18am
I had a fantastic meal at Village East four years ago - really attentive staff, lovely food - but so many new restaurants have sprung up since in the area I've not been back...
Thursday 17 October 2013 8.14pm
A friend of mine was treated quite rudely by staff in there recently.

On a more positive note, there was this mini-review in my daily Shortlist email...

VILLAGE EAST
171-173 Bermondsey St, SE1
Sometimes you just want your chips to taste of ham. And Village East has reopened with a menu that grants that wish (for a 50p surcharge). Money well spent. There are fun touches all over the menu, starting with the cocktails. The Gin-Gin Situation is the same cocktail twice, served in two tiny milk bottles – one’s made with Tanqueray, the other with Bols Genever, demanding a “Which do you prefer?” tasting session. There were also duck-fat almonds and mashed potato with crispy chicken skin and chicken gravy (do you detect a “veg with meat flavours” theme?). The centrepiece? A confit turkey leg (£16) the length of our forearm, topped with crisped wild rice. All of it was good. But those chips with smoky ham salt were a revelation.

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