Coming soon: Villa Toscana [UPDATED]

O BC of little faith. It seems that Villa Toscana (179 Brockley Road) represents not just a new lick of paint on an old business, but a genuine attempt by a new team to start a restaurant to replace the hole left by La Lanterna.

They now have a temporary sign (with contact details - already a cut above Alby's Place) and various readers have been told that it is due to open shortly.

UPDATE: The Villa Toscana team has now confirmed that "Villa Toscana opening party will be on Thursday 18th October from 6- 9pm. Restaurant will be fully open from Friday 19th October."

105 comments:

Anonymous said...

It may show signs of life now but for how long? With a planning enforcement notice looming I dont have much hope for it, so I'd rather give it a miss & use the gantry, etc.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how good it will be if the same people are running it - not wanting to engage with the public. Let's hope they'ver turned over a new leaf ...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brockley Nick said...

No, posts are being deleted for targeting individuals. Email me if you want to discuss.

ella guru said...

Cheer up!! I just love the positivity that this site provides... :\

How about checking it out and giving them a chance before passing your judgements?

This is a GOOD THING, a new decent restaurant will be great for the area. I suggest you pop in and see what it's like before assuming it won't be good. I for one and delighted and look forward to sampling what they have to offer.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree, we should wait and see. Le Querce doesnt look much from the outside but people flock there for the food. Let's hope it is run by authentic italian chefs, and no some randoms.

ella guru said...

p.s. re: not wanting to engage with the public - reading the constant negative comments from the users of this site makes me wonder if it's you who doesn't wish to engage with anything new. An area can't prosper without new businesses. Go on, take a chance, step outside your comfort zone. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Anonymous said...

@ ella guru
This isn't a new business it appears to be the same owners opening up under a different name?

Makes you wonder why all the locals appear to be lighting the torches & grabbing the pitch forks at any signs of this place opening, there must be a reason?

Malpas Jeremy said...

How dare they not engage this blog!

Don't they know who we are!

Brockley Nick said...

1. The owners are the same, but as far as I am aware, they did not run Alby's Place and they will not run this place. This is a new management team.

2. However, the farcical history of this site in recent years means that it is hardly surprising that people are skeptical

3. However, it's true that a new team represents a fresh start and they should be given a chance

4. And, there's no doubt that when they open, if they do a good job, people will not harp on about the past, they will give them their custom

5. However, I would say that there are quite a few "legacy" issues with this location, which they will have to overcome (see point 1). That means that they will need to work hard to tell people about their business and what they offer

6. And that means doing a bit of marketing. That doesn't have to mean engaging with BC, any form of communication with customers would be welcome and in contrast to Alby's Place, which didn't so much publish its opening hours or contact details.

7. However, it would probably be sensible, given that BC gets 2,000 visits a day from local people and has a wider reach via Twitter and Facebook to use the free oppotunity that this represents.

the erased said...

Be careful not to become to engaged, Nicks not liking facts or own opinions today! lol

Fattyfattybumbum said...

Albys Place was one of the funniest attempts at opening a business I have ever seen. Their shop front was hilarious and made me smile.

A bit like the new(ish) 'Business Centre' in Ladywell which proudly proclaims to do laptop repairs, money transfer, legal services and wigs!

Hopefully this new restaurant is more La Querce and less Biagio.

Anonymous said...

I walked by it on Saturday night and there seemed to be a private party in progress, looked good to me

Anonymous said...

@ anon 14.35
Thats funny I live in Cranfield Road & came across from the Barge on Sat at about 9pm & it was in darkness & empty! your not the legendary ''pan fried chicken'' eater are you???

Winners Dinner said...

I have found the management very engaging.

I wrote earlier that I was invited in by the chef to see the place - that's hardly a failure to engage.

The owner did not run Alby's Place, but took it back following concerns raised.

i certainly got the opinion that they were not overly interested in the sceptics on this site, prefering instead to deal with those who will genuinley frequent the place.

Two thousand 'visits' to one side, they will be working hard. But probably not through this site,

The proof of the pudding will then be in the eating.

Anonymous said...

I see the troll has finished gobbling up goats & has developed a taste for pan fried chicken - lmfao!

Please dont troll the life out of this page, I want to get to the bottom of why most locals seems to dislike the owners of this place.

Fattyfattybumbum said...

@ Anon 14:56 -

If you want to know why people are sceptical about any food related establishment related to the Biagio group, paste either "Ristorante Biagio & Bar" or "Piccolo Diavolo" into tripadvisor and read the reviews.

These are Biagios (the owners and former operators) other two places in London - the comments speak for themselves.

Brockley Nick said...

@WD - we'll see eh. And as for this:

"i certainly got the opinion that they were not overly interested in the sceptics on this site, prefering instead to deal with those who will genuinley frequent the place."

Brockley Central readers are their potential customers. Some are cynics (with good grounds). Most are agnostic. All simply want a good restaurant to eat at.

Anonymous said...

I've got better one try this link from our very own BC, 4th entry down from kate! Just what you want with your £14 pasta!
http://brockleycentral.blogspot.co.uk/2007/11/la-lanterna-brockley-road.html

Anonymous said...

Fatty

You have too much spare time.

Anonymous said...

Why do some of the people on this blog expect to be consulted with when someone wants to open a new business in the area? I keep hearing people say there has been lack of communication with the community when it comes to this restaurant. Why should they tell any of us how their intending on running their business? They own the property, they can do what they like with it at the end of the day. There’s probably a number valid reasons why this place has been developed yet. It’s costs a lot of money to renovate a restaurant and we are in a recession you know?
If they start a restaurant and the food is good, people(us lot) will go. If the food isn’t good, people(us lot) won’t go. Judge the place by the food and service, not by how well they’ve integrated the community in setting up the business.

Anonymous said...

Its not a new business, its the same owners renaming the place & making out that they are not running it.

Anonymous said...

So how does it plan to open, given the last article about the Enforcement Notice, or has that just disappeared now?!

http://brockleycentral.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/irresistible-enforcement-to-meet.html

HFM said...

Looking forward to some honest Italian fare.

Anonymous said...

"Thats funny I live in Cranfield Road & came across from the Barge on Sat at about 9pm & it was in darkness & empty! your not the legendary ''pan fried chicken'' eater are you???"


10:35 old chap. lit up like blackpool, lots of laughter

pip said...

I quite liked La Lanterna (except for the over-reliance on tinned vegetables), but they've destroyed all the goodwill built up then by all the arsing about since it closed.

Anyone who sits on a prime site that used to be one of the few reasonable restaurants in the area, and leaves it to rot is not exactly engendering good relations with the local population. The whole Albys debacle didn't help (not just the apparent sleaziness of the place, but also the hideously tacky frontage).

They are starting some way behind square one with me, but I'm still only one decent meal away from having some of that goodwill restored.

AAA said...

Like Nick suggests - the vast majority of BC readers are probably 'Agnostic'. I suspect there is a silent majority who simply read the blog without feeling the need to comment on every post - As such I try not to rely too much on BC comments when guaging the views of the Brockley Massive as these only provide a snapshot of the folk who feel strongly enough to comment...

Fattyfattybumbum said...

@ Anon 15:09

Ha ha you are right! But at least I am getting paid whilst I wile away the time ;)

Anonymous said...

@ anon 15.29
You took the time to cut & paste my previous blog maybe you should have took the time to read it! I said I passed at 9pm!

If you are going to troll, at least get you facts straight!!

I fear you are the pan fried chicken troll in disguise?

Anonymous said...

At least there's one good thing we've established today, trolls can't tell the time! lol

Anonymous said...

"10:35 old chap. lit up like blackpool, lots of laughter"

I believe 10:35 is later than 9pm - maybe your confusing your big hands with your little hands

Anonymous said...



My understanding is that the
chef is not Italian.

Considering the bar has been set by Le Querce, this is probably not a good idea.

However, I will reserve my decision after I taste the food, although I understand that the same people are running the show.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to it! On another note, visited the bar next door last Saturday..gulans? The place was empty, which was a shame since the bar staff was very friendly, the music was great..and drinks were ok. Anyone ever go there?

Anonymous said...

I quite enjoyed the food at Alby's

Anonymous said...

@ anon 19.48
Get it right, I walked past earlier then you 'allegedly' did, 9pm ish & there was no party going on. I can't say whether they broke out fatboy slim & 200 party goers just because you walked past because I wasn't there?

Troll 101, get you facts straight, direct your ''little/big hand'' nonsense at anon 19.48, not me.

However I do believe that you are definitely one or more of the trolls we have hanging around this forum, please stop your crap or I will be forced to issue all new bloggers with this new spray! (see link below)

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-54vNkO_YPyY/Tjdyg5cI3rI/AAAAAAAAAa4/A6enIzbGius/s640/troll+can.jpg

Anonymous said...

Not my cup of tea, I'll be giving it a miss.

Winners Dinner said...

Nick you misuinderstand me.

"Brockley Central readers are their potential customers. Some are cynics (with good grounds). Most are agnostic. All simply want a good restaurant to eat at."

They do not see the extened value of your blog quite in the way that you do. Nor do they feel they need it. They want to engage in the traditional honest and open way, face-to-face. Think, word of mouth rather than word by anonymous blabber.

Anonymous said...

I took afternoon tea at Albys once, it was very nice

Anonymous said...

Yes yes, we all went to Albys and had amazing food and it was definitely open blah blah blah.
Can we move on now?

Anonymous said...

Is that because you was choking on your pan fried chicken? Your getting boring now, please stop posting crap!

Anonymous said...

Why do forum dissenters always assume it was just one person who went to Alby's? I went with a couple of mates one night. Getting sick of this.

Anonymous said...

I had a stag night there - over 50 of us - couple of Chippendales popped in to rip off their trousers as well.

Brockley Nick said...

@WD - yes, that's exactly what I understood you to mean. They have a twitter feed, by the way. Not sure if that counts as the old fashioned way.

Far be it from me to offer any PR advice, but they are going to get written and talked about anyway, so probably sensible to get the facts on the record. Anyhoo, up to them of course.

Winners Dinner said...

Yes, I believe they want the power of their cooking to do it for them rather than the negative nature of your blog.

Anonymous said...

And they think that allowing the "negative nature of this blog" without any comment, or giving their view, or giving any information to get people who read the blog excited will help them? People will read this blog and there will be articles about Villa Toscana anyway - an attempt to sway the press in their own direction is a good idea (whether they like the blog or not).

Sorry to Winners Dinner and the owners of Villa Toscana, but in the "traditional honest and open way" businesses promoted themselves in the local media, i.e. newspapers. This is the equivalent of Brockley's biggest local newspaper. Pretending it doesn't exist and not trying to use it to your advantage to help convince the doubters (when you are opening on a retail site with the reputation of this one) is starting you many steps behind the pace. It's not even like it would take them very long.

Seriously, some people need basic business training!

Anonymous said...

Brockley's biggest newspaper is the News Shopper

Fattyfattybumbum said...

Is this place open already then or what's the story?

Anonymous said...

The facebook page has a nice pic of what's inside ...

http://www.facebook.com/restaurantvillatoscana

Welcome to 2012 said...

That'll be ye olde fashionede Facebooke - spreading the word the good old fashioned way, without any of that internet nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Villa Toscana photo looks very nice - let's hope the food matches it.

@Anon 15.24 - News Shopper isn't Brockley specific, and it's whole website (newsshopper.co.uk) only gets 8 times the visits that BC gets, despite a much larger than 8 times geographic area of distribution. The newspaper version gets 4 times BC in visits and covers all of Lewisham and Catford.

I'd argue BC has a larger distribution than News Shopper in Brockley.

Mb said...

Actually looks ok inside. Hope they sort out that weird lobby arrangement, does them no favours.

Anonymous said...

Looks nice! Hope they lose the flatscreen telly though

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon1518 - I suggest we don't take Winner's Dinners' comments as the last word on VT's marketing strategy.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

@ winners dinner & welcome 2012
How comes you guys are so enlightened with all the facts on villa toscana? Do you know the owners or something?

Can't be the phone number I've tried many times & got no answer, I've even tried the main office number & still no answer, in fact it went through to an 02 answering service! Surley. You need to answer the phone if you expect to get bookings?

Anonymous said...

@ anon 8.15
Well spotted, I've also noticed the ocasional person posting nonesese about going into albys etc, seems like there trying to relight a dying topic. Maybe the same person?

I think the owners should take a leaf out of Michelle from the old Toads Mouth book, she used to be very good at engaging with the locals, very freindly lady.

I think I'll stay with Jam circus, the antic group have got it nailed, all their site are great!

Anonymous said...

I hope the ''enlightened ones'' can see fit to share with us when a menu either goes up in the window or on facebook? I've had a bet with another BCer about a certain few dishes that may be on there.

Welcome to 2012 said...

@Anon0815 - er, this is getting silly now. I don't know anything other than the link that someone posted to their facebook. Just laughing at the fact that winners dinners just told everyone that the owners weren't going to use social media to reach the community. And then it turns out that they have Twitter and Facebook accounts. Winners Dinners needs to welcome himself to 2012.

Sherlock said...

Basic investigation leads to a few points:

1. Somebody called Susan Caroleo appears to be key in the operations of VT. Biagio Group is owned by Biagio Caroleo
2. Her Facebook page regularly has her checking in at Biagio restaurants in the City
3. She appears to live in Eltham

So Villa Toscana would look to still be a Biagio restaurant, however it is a restaurant that looks like it might try to open. Generally a good thing, but not getting me excited yet.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, it's definitely opening as a restaurant and it's opening this week, as the article above confirms.

HOB said...

I had the misfortune to go to a hen do at their Brazen Monkey outpost in Leicester Square recently- while we made our own atmosphere the room was incredibly beaten up and dingy, and the karaoke machine kept breaking. The pizzas were ok but all the wine was lukewarm, Yuk. There was a real lack of effort or ambition on the whole setup which surely won't wash in a neighbourhood location. Really hope theres a different approach taken here!

Anonymous said...

I have been invited to the opening night at VT - anyone else had the same honour?

Anonymous said...

Me too, I think as a previous customer of Alby's their marketing team got in touch with us. Looking forward to it!

Winners Dinners said...

Yes, I've been invited...

I didn't get the impression that they were being at all secretive or not engaging - with people, so if you wanna look just knock on the door and try the human touch. (After all it's worked for millions of years.)

Absolute gall though not getting BC approval I know. It's a brave old world when BC is ignored, and at your peril, so let's hope that the strategy that the owner outlined to me works.

The guest list though is going to be selective in the first few weeks so get knocking.

Brockley Nick said...

@WD - I don't know what you're talking about. They've agreed to an interview.

Anonymous said...

Owned!

Anonymous said...

A 'selective guestlist'? For a local restaurant? Bit weird.

Welcome to 2012 said...

Given the accuracy of WD's other comments I wouldn't pay any attention to that line. It's such an "exclusive" event that they've posted the details on Twitter and they open to the general public the next day!

Winners Dinners said...

Perhaps they now realise the value of engaging online. I was just conveying to you what was conveyed to me, then.

I'm still sure they wouldn't mind people knocking and taking a peak.

Winners Dinners said...

Oh, and like the anonymous poster above my response too was 'that's a bit weird.'

Anonymous said...

@ WD
I don't know where you're getting this information from, have you got a crystal ball?

@ Sherlock
You need to recheck your investigation skills - check out http://company-director-check.co.uk/director/912780609

In my opinion this topic generates some people that appear to be on a stealth marketing crusade!

Anonymous said...

A little tip guys, if you type the persons BC identity into google next to brockley central ie, mickey mouse brockley central it will bring up all the topics that they have posted on.

I've just done it & its very interesting what you find! Also great way for identifying topic or tactical trolls trying to flame.

Anonymous said...

WOW epic tip! its amazing how much they've got people to respond to their crap!

Trolls beware, there's a troll hunter in town! lmfao!

Anonymous said...

Thank god it's opening, I am reserving judgement until I have actually eaten there.

Some people here have way too much spare time.

Brockley Nick said...

Dear Trollhunter, your posts are as trollish as the trolls you hunt. Please calm down and stop suggesting everyone is a plant.

Anonymous said...

Will roast troll be on the menu?

Anonymous said...

Top Chef serves the finest toasted rolls in the area bar none.

Catherine said...

I wish them well. They were always very kind to my kids and I - one of the few restaurants that didn't get worried about a lone adult coming in with 3 small children.

So I am prepared to forgive the not very imaginative menu as they kept me sane during those ten years when there wasn't much else within walking distance.

We can't make the opening but plan a family visit (now the children are taller than me) asap

Anonymous said...

Did anyone go to the launch party last night? How was it?

@HighStreetBen said...

For the first time I confirm that I have seen people eating in this restaurant (on Fri night) and looked v nice. Hopefully they'll finish the shopfront off soon too. Interestingly someone other than Biagio are just reopening theone on East India Docks complex (that was terrible when Biagios and shut). Good luck to all!

Anonymous said...

I went to the launch party, it was good

Anonymous said...

Do you want to elucidated further? Quality of the food maybe?

Anonymous said...

food quality was very nice, very very nice

Anonymous said...

Got a pamphlet through my door at the weekend and the photo of the inside looked good. Just a shame it's not possible to see it from the street. Will have to try it out sometime soon. Anybody here eaten there yet with a review they are willing to share beyond "the food was very, very nice".

Anonymous said...

The chicken and chips was excellent. I bumped into Alby last night and he personally wanted to extend his thanks to those members of BC who believed in him and kept the dream alive against the tide of nay-saying.

Anonymous said...

Funny that, I bumped into Alby as well, (he's that kind of bloke) and he said the complete opposite, but the food was nice.

Winners Dinners said...

Dined there the other night with the family - excellent.

I had the lamb chops and ratatoulle (don;t know if that's spelt right).

House wine (Merlot) terrific at just under £13 a bottle. Though i couldn't see myself pay £120 for the most expensive on the list!

The waiters were brilliant.

I also got a complimentary brandy at the end of the evening from Biagio - wonderful host.

Great ambience. Great chef. Great family restaurant. Will certainly book again.

Anonymous said...

There are far too many people taking the Mick around here.

I shall await a proper review from an authoritative source.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, what was this article about?

http://brockleycentral.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/irresistible-enforcement-to-meet.html

Anonymous said...

I had breakfast there this morning - it was very nice

Anonymous said...

Me and the boys from work just went there for Gammon and egg - lovely.

Anonymous said...

They do breakfasts? Are they going to get a website so we can see their opening times, menus etc?

Anonymous said...

I went there with some mystical fairies and had a lovely lunch, the best I've ever had.

Anonymous said...

I've had fairies claim they were mystical as well...

HOB said...

Are you not confusing them with the fry-up loving honest fair-ies??

Anonymous said...

There is no pizza on the menu!

Anonymous said...

Just spoke to a friend of mine who ate there last night and she said the food was terrific (and she knows/loves her food!). Can't wait to try it now myself.

Mondee said...

I must say, the pic on their Facebook page looks very nice and if the chef can pull off that menu it will be great. The dishes look pretty authentic, although a couple of the translations into English don't quite do the originals justice, in particular the ravioli which, in the Italian version, are said to be homemade. If that is the case, it should definitely be flagged up in the English translation but it isn't.

Anonymous said...

I thought this place was open?! I went there on Monday & Tues night with the wife & nothing! in total darkness!

Mondee said...

It's closed mon and tues! Try again tomorrow...

''yeah right'' said...

@ anon 23 October 2012 14:55

This place doesn't open on Tuesdays let alone at 3pm in the afternoon! so how could you of just eaten there???

You have posted under at least 7 comments some under different ID's, others under anon, I know this because I am studying linguistics at Birkbeck, please stop it as you are getting very boring now!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone popped in yet? Any genuine reveiws to share...?

Mondee said...

I would like to know if anyone has a genuine review too. And Nick, what happened to the interview they promised you?!

passerby said...

notice in window on boxing day 2013 : 'unfortunately due to the death of the owner VT will not be opening over Christmas'..

Mezzer said...

That's sad. The sign refers to the death of the manager though.

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