Villa Toscana

Kramer: Yeah, ya know you haven't been around for a while. 
Maestro: Oh yeah, I've been at my house in Tuscany. 
Kramer: Oh Tuscany huh? Hear that Jerry? That's in Italy. 
Jerry: I hear it's ah beautiful there. 
Maestro: Well if you're thinking of getting a place there don't bother. There's really nothing available.
- Seinfeld, The Maestro


The short-lived Alby's Place is dead - in its place rises 'Villa Toscana' (according to the note in the window), which promises that it's a restaurant. Pillar-box-red and black paintwork has given way to a thick reddy-brown lacquer. Maybe the CCTV cameras on the front door and window-coverings will go too, to give it a slightly more welcoming appearance.

With thanks to those on Twitter who alerted us.

102 comments:

Egon Ronay said...

Owned by the same restaurant chain as previous? Bet that anonymous chap who ate the invisible "chicken and chips" at Alby's will be annoyed.

Anonymous said...

That anonymous chap chose to ignore the slings and arrows of snotty bloggers and actually go in - bet you didn't.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if it's the same owners or someone new?

Egon Ronay said...

So he says..... I dont believe him.

Yes, revuiews are subjective. Door always locked, windows obscured, a menu taped to the window offering pasta at £14 a plate makes me think it was rubbish. Never saw Chicken & Chips on that other menu by the way.

It was never a serious attempt at a restaurant. That's my view, chicken guy needs to get out more.

Anonymous said...

Quite a nice colour, with a professional sign writer the outside could end up looking ok

Fattyfattybumbum said...

I can barely contain my excitement.

Anonymous said...

I can hardly wait; biggest tease in Brockley. Jokers.

Ben H said...

Can't wait, the area needs a Italian restaurant again!

If there a definitive answer as to what Alby's actually was?

Anonymous said...

Hopefully it's not the same dodgy people running it

Anonymous said...

Not exactly optimistic, there is nothing so far to make me think it isn't the same dodgy people. All the other recent openings (e.g. Arlo & Moe, Gantry, Gently Elephant, Gulen's Bar) have used this blog to publicise themselves. All the businesses opening in the area have at least had a social media site to show there are people behind it who want to be trackable. This currently doesn't, same with Alby's. I desperately hope I'm wrong (and hope the owners will make themselves known), but I suspect otherwise.

Community outreach equiality officer said...

Hey, maybe, you know, we judge it by what it does rather than it's sign or social media policy?!

Brockley Nick said...

"Hey, maybe, you know, we judge it by what it does rather than it's sign or social media policy?!"

Agreed, but that swings both ways. If "what it does" is lock its doors, block its windows and not open to the general public, then we should be free to say that this is a waste of a restaurant unit without having to defend ourselves from charges of snobbery from a fantasist who swear they had a delicious chicken and chips there once.

terrencetrentderby said...

"Same dodgy people"?

It's no wonder they can't be bothered to woo the snobs on this site. Not every new business needs to grovel at the feet of Brockley Central.



Anonymous said...

Grovel? I would think it's a smart business plan to promote yourself on the local community blog ... if you are actually a legitimate business wanting trade that is.

Anonymous said...

A restaurant that is actually a restaurant - thats all I'd hope for. Not a front for something else, with a "hostel" upstairs, ahem...

Brockley Nick said...

Whether or not they launch a Twitter account or Flickr stream or offer an interview with BC is of secondary importance compared with whether they unlock their front door and make it possible for passing trade to come in.

Anonymous said...

Which they did, you just didn't pick the right moment then refused to believe otherwise, even after people gave their own accounts of going in.

Brockley Nick said...

I do choose not to believe your ludicrous story, yes.

But let me ask you: what kind of a restaurant only opens their doors to the public for a brief, unannounced period and then promptly locks up again?

I didn't "pick the wrong moment" - unless by "moment" you mean every day / evening.

Anonymous said...

It's not only Brockley Nick who has failed to gain admittance to Alby's. From what I've heard, a fair few people have tried (including me), and been rebuffed.
In what sense was Alby's even vaguely pretending to be a restaurant, when the most basic function of a restaurant - letting people in through the door - was not being fulfilled?
Anyway, let's just hope that this new attempt (which is quite clearly by the same people) will prove more convincing.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they were building to sell. It happens.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes dodgy people do take over restaurants, run them in an amateurish fashion or try turning them into a nightspot. Then close, suddenly, when it came time to pay the rent.

That happened to restaurant that previously occupied the site where the Orchard is now.

I suspect the same might also happen to a certain Thai restaurant.

The recycling of premises on our shopping parades is not particularly efficient.

Hopefully, this one will emerge from the doldrums and become established so we have a nice new restaurant.

Anonymous said...

Anon 21:31, if we're thinking of the same certain Thai restaurant I doubt it. It's been going for 4 years at least, but always seems empty. I have actually been in thatplace (the Thai place) and it was alright. Don't know how they keep going though.

Anonymous said...

It seems more of hobby than a business. Those buildings usually have flats above which I guess bring in rent to keep it going.

I believe there was a connection with the junk shop that is now the Gently Elephant shoe shop.

The pattern seems to be the value is in the flats and development potential for residential accommodation rather than the shop fronts and a retail or restaurant business.

Albys place had aspirations of being hostel/hotel.

I guess eventually they find a way of splitting it up and selling each separately - when market conditions are right.

It is clear, that the restaurant side of this is obviously not the valuable asset.

It is frustrating to see premises wasted like this.

BreakspearsEagle said...

I'm not sure why people run down Thai Thai so much. The food is always good, the interior is nice and it has been fairly busy whenever I've been past recently.

Whenever I've eaten there lots of people also come in to get takeaway. It doesn't help when Brockley Nick is on Twitter telling people not to go.

Brockley Nick said...

@BreakspearsEagle

a) I've only mentioned them once (and now thanks to you, twice) - and in response to a direct question.

b) In my experience, the food was poor, the atmosphere was non-existent and I don't think the service was particularly great either. And I am not a fussy customer.

Fortunately, we have a brilliant alternative about 100 yards away that is jolly, buzzy and delicious.

c) The tweet you are referring to was only a few months ago. The place has been dead for years. I don't think BC Twitter is the problem.

Anonymous said...

"I am not a fussy customer. "

Not into honest fare though...

Name said...

You need to see somebody about this 'honest fare' obsession. Every bloody day! It's seriously weird. And very dull - do you ever think or talk about anything else?

BreakspearsEagle said...

@BrockleyNick

Your disparaging comment was a direct twitter message to Patacakes, which means that anyone who follows both you and them would have seen it - probably quite a few potential customers.

When was your visit? Perhaps it has improved since then.

Anonymous said...

I walk past Thai Thai all the time and hardly ever see anyone in there. The rumour is that it has no chef. Compare that with the busy Thai restaurant on Foxberry Rd.

Thai Thai could be a thriving restuarant business, just as a Villa Tosca could has a lot of potential as a local Italian.

Sadly, the owners do not see any merit in investing in kitchens and staff.

I guess they have other fish to fry.

Brockley seems to have a few ghost businesses like this that are in the hands of amateur developers who seem more interested in property speculation and room rental.

Anonymous said...

I never see anyone in the delis. Does that mean they're up to no good as well?

Name said...

Yes you do. Stop making stuff up just to try and score some ridiculous point.

Brockley Nick said...

@BE - yes, like anyone expressing an opinion on Twitter, it will be read by some people. They can ignore or pay attention to that opinion, as they see fit.

Anonymous said...

However, with great power comes great responsibility - that particular tweet probably crossed the line from private advice to public advocacy.

Brockley Nick said...

I am comfortable with publicly stating that I don't rate Just Thai Thai.

Anonymous said...

What bilge. Twitter is a public forum, should opinions be policed? Was the comment libellous or an opinion? If you open. If you own a business, write a book, are a politician or even a twitter user who doesn't block their content get used to people voicing an opinion, it's a harsh world out there.

BreakspearsEagle said...

Based on how many visits?

you have previously stated that you delete blog comments that unnecessarily slam local businesses

Anonymous said...

I think you're being a bit touchy. Why can't Nick be honest about his opinion on a local restaurant. Should he lie and say he likes it?

Brockley Nick said...

I have eaten from there a total of three times.

You like it, great. Rather than dragging up old tweets of mine so that more people will now be aware of an opinion that you don't agree with, why not just post a positive review of it on the relevant thread:

http://brockleycentral.blogspot.co.uk/2008/02/just-thai-thai-brockley-road.html

I don't delete comments where people say they don't like the food / atmosphere, etc. I (occasionally) delete comments where someone says something potentially libelous, abuses the owner, etc.

BreakspearsEagle said...

You have linked to a post in which an anonymous user accuses the owner of being racist - and this wasn't deleted!

This will probably be one of the few search engine results for this place and you leave a comment like that. When coupled with this:

Patacake_stacie: also thinking of going to just thai thai tonight...is it any good?

BrockleyCentral: sorry to say, no it isn't. Smiles Thai Cafe is brilliant though

Me: Just Thai Thai always good in my experience (3 visits)

BrockleyCentral: if you like eating on your own.

Perhaps you can understand why I feel the place is being harshly treated!

Anonymous said...

Agreed.

Brockley Nick said...

@BE

I have now deleted that comment. Happy to do so when such things are brought to my attention. Anyway, back to the point. If you think the place is great, write a post saying so.

Anonymous said...

has anyone tried Chai's Garden Thai Restaurant on Kitto road. Really good red and green curry chicken. Never had a bad meal there.

Anonymous said...

Thai Thai harshly treated?

Sad to say it, but the place is a joke.

Go past in the evening, when the other restaurants are buzzing. See if you can work out why.



Darylh said...

I spoke to a guy who was painting the front about an hour ago. Transcript below

“when is the restaurant opening?”
“Yes”
“um…soonish like in a couple of weeks?”
“Yes”
“Okay, thanks.”
“Yes”


You read it here first!

Anonymous said...

Well that tells us a lot of information... Not!

Timmy2wheels said...

Villa Toscana: a shit name, and it looks like it's going to be a shit restaurant. The frontage needs more than a(nother) lick of paint and I honestly think people who were in it to win it would know that and start from scratch. Using platforms like this blog and twitter to ingratiate yourself with the local community is just good business, particularly if your site has been the focus of so much speculation and distrust. That doesn't mean I won't give it a chance - proof is in the carbonara, as they say - but they could make a softer landing for themselves by engaging a bit with people who care about what's happening in their area.

Anonymous said...

They just might not be aware of this blog you know. There isn't a placque on entering Brockley that says "make sure you tell Brockley central!"

They might be using flyers, word of mouth, Facebook, Streetlife.com, or just opening and seeing what happens.

BC isn't the arbiter of all that is fare.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 14.35
If you're opening a new business, one of the first things you think of is how to advertise it. Even if you don't know of this blog, imagine some of the things you might Google to look for places to get some free coverage.

How about "Brockley"? Brockley Central is second

How about the street of your new restaurant "Brockley Road"? There are 4 hits from Brockley Central in the top 10.

How about "Brockley newspaper"? It's first.

You'd have to be an idiot to open a business here and not know about Brockley Central and not contact Nick.

Let's imagine they've somehow failed to find the blog, has anybody seen a flyer, poster, posting on Facebook/StreetLife?

Anonymous said...

There's a poster in the window

Anonymous said...

What does it say?

Anonymous said...

From memory:

Villa Toscana
Italian Restaurant
Coming Soon!

Egon ronay said...

Well the old one advertised £14 pasta dishes. I'd want an entire Swan for that.

Anonymous said...

It also has a number for any enquiries, from memory ... Maybe someone should call and ask? !

Anonymous said...

£14 isn't bad for pasta - you'd pay the same in the local mungo establishments

Anonymous said...

errm no you wouldn't, as far as I can recall from Sunday, the Gantry do a Seafood linguine (with scallop, langoustine etc) for £11.50...
Served in a really nice, welcoming (and open) place

Anonymous said...

That linguine is uh-mazing btw ... I had it the other week and licked the plate. (well, not really, but I wanted to).

Anonymous said...

Right, so a difference of £2.50.

We all know different fare suppliers charge different prices locally so this in itself shouldn't be notable.

Anonymous said...

So the height of Mungo/dishonest fare has a dish that is £2.50 cheaper than the great purveyor of honest fare Alby's Place.

Do the honest fare people even listen to themselves?

Anonymous said...

No one said Alby's is honest fare, what are you talking about?

Brockley Michael said...

If Thai Thai don't have a chef, how do they prepare the food? Order it from Smiles?

On the subject of Smiles, there was a notice on their window a while back about seeking planning permission to redo the frontage. Not sure what became of that. It's rather a curiosity, with its year-round lights; but I've used it many times, because the food is good. I've yet to go into Thai Thai.

Anonymous said...

I would like to put a good word in for Thai Thai, I have eaten there many times and always enjoyed the food, it has an excellent menu and is reasonably priced. I believe the cooking is done mainly by the owner and occasionally she has another chef in, the service is very friendly and the chef always comes out to ask how we are enjoying the meal.

dany chandra said...

Great Blog!! That was amazing. Your thought processing is wonderful. The way you tell the thing is awesome. You are really a master...thanks sell my villa

Anonymous said...

Know how many people it takes to run a restaurant?

Try counting the number of people on duty at the busier restaurants in the area. They have about a dozen on the go at busy times, drawn from a roster of about twice that. It takes a lot of commitment and organisation to serve lots of meals all in the same intensely busy period when people want to dine in the evening.

A proprietor rustling up dinner for a couple of tables is more like a bed and breakfast. I am sure it can be very nice, but that is not a restaurant.

Thai Thai should be at least as busy as Smiles if it were run seriously, it is in a far better location.

Villa Tosca...I guess we will just have to wait and see, but the lack of engagement with the local community does not augur well.

If it is the previous owners involved, they were used to West End style business that relies on footfall to deliver casual dining customers. Not very appropriate in a local setting.

The success of local restaurants shows that the demand is there. It would be nice to have a couple more, so we have some choice.

There is nothing quite like having a fine dinner and good wine in a restaurant that is close to home.

Darylh said...

I wish Dany Chandra would post more, that guy has great insights on Villa Toscana.

Anonymous said...

Top Chef doesn't use blogs and they do alright. Stop being so snobby!

Anonymous said...

granted, it might be a little quicker to get the word around however the brockley central blog is not going to be instrumental in the success of any business. If the food is good, people will go to it. if the food is crap, people won't go it. Simples!!!

david cameron said...

"There is nothing quite like having a fine dinner and good wine in a restaurant that is close to home."


my thoughts completely - and no plebs please

Anonymous said...

Plebs are already very well catered for in Brockley as the forum troll is wont to point out with tedious regularity.

Anonymous said...

I like Smiles although I took a friend there once and the waiter/ owner was picking his teeth in front of us. Never been to Thai Thai but a friend was really unwell after eating there a few years back

Manor Club Tim said...

It is possible for a restaurant to be neither "mung" nor "honest fare" but just good quality in unpretentious surroundings, and do very well in Brockley. A slightly scruffy traditional trattoria called Villa Toscana that served decent, well priced pizza and pasta on Brockley road would be quite popular, in the same way that both Smiles and Meze Mangal serve good, reasonably priced food in a pleasant atmosphere without making any attempt to be trendy. Likewise Le Querce although they have become a little expensive.

I don't agree that a successful restaurant needs a team of professional chefs and waiting staff either. Small family run restaurants with mum and dad in the kitchen and son or daughter on the tables are the established model from villages to cities around the world.

The trouble is the track record of the owners of that site. It would be nice to think this will be a friendly local Italian but, well, let's see.

Somehow other countries manage to avoid the silly snobbery / inverse snobbery about restaurant food we suffer from in the urban parts of the UK. Our class system seems to extend to every aspect of British life.

By the way I noticed a developer's sign outside the buildings next door to Meze Mangal last night, and wondered if this was the beginning of the end of the container, at last. Or has it been there for months and I just didn't notice?

Anonymous said...

The UK does not have a strong family restaurant tradition and it is generally regarded as beneath the dignity of any English person to serve another. If they do, it becomes a bit like Fawlty Towers.

It is a bit pathetic that the UK is dominated by class differences. But that is ingrained in the culture and does not show any signs of going away. It is certainly very evident in the troll comments on this blog.

Brockley is wide open for another restaurant. It is very sad that two good restaurant sites are being wasted.






HOB said...

2 sites? La lanterna as was, and which other?
BTW your comments re English people's attitudes are quite daft. All sorts of people run cafes, coffee bars, restaurants in the area- many of them are English. I've worked in catering myself for 2 decades and take a great deal of pride in what I do.
Working with my family though, that would be quite another matter...

Anonymous said...

Really?

Go into the West End and find a place where the service staff are English.

Service jobs have low pay and low status in the UK.

On the Continent, the status is higher and generally more professional. That is fairly plain to see by anyone who has been over the Channel. They have a restaurant culture. The best restaurants in the UK generally have Continental, often Italians or French running the front go house, because they do it well.

Things are changing in the UK, slowly.

This is quite interesting.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/8253472/Why-is-British-service-so-bad.html

There are historic reasons why Britain has an indifferent attitude towards service and it is bound up in the class politics of the culture.

A young English waitress in Brockley once put it quite succinctly. After I had the temerity to interrupt her conversation with a friend and ask for something, I was admonished with

'I'm sorry, I don't believe in pandering to customers'

Astonishing but sadly typical.

The British really don't like service jobs. If they have such a job they do it grudgingly and usually not very well.

Proprietors are not much better, seeing customers as people who are very irritating with their constant demands and tend to ruin the smooth running of their establishment.

If you have not been able to observe this sort of thing after two decades in the business, maybe you have not had enough experience as a customer.


Anonymous said...

The other site is Thai Thai, which is run as more of a hobby than a restaurant.

HOB said...

?? Sorry, see don't see how your sweeping generalisations about the West End sector have a bearing on discussion about local businesses. You said "English" people don't want to work in catering - locally they clearly do- and as for the Gantry, Broca, Browns, Jam Circus, Brock Mess, Arlo & Moe, Hopscotch Pistachios, the Orchard.... Are you saying they're all hopeless amateurs who display Basil Fawlty levels of incompetentce at what they do?
Your (or you received?) views may have a point in a wider debate about certain areas of the UK restaurant scene, eg provincial restaurants that can't attract local talent and tourist trap gaffs such as one finds in the West End, but really locally one IS quite spoiled for choice, people DO take care in what they do, MANY of us are English.

Brockley Nick said...

'A nation of shopkeepers' and an economy reliant on services unwilling to serve? It's a wonder we're not all scratching around in the dirt.

Ian on the Hill said...

A quick observation: I've been in Thai Thai four times. Twice it was lovely and the food was delicious and twice it was pretty nasty. A quick look at the place might be enough to tell you that the management style is...eccentric.

Anonymous said...

HOB said...

"Gantry, Broca, Browns, Jam Circus, Brock Mess, Arlo & Moe, Hopscotch Pistachios, the Orchard"

Ah, there's the approved list of the politburo again. It's coming up with surprising regularity these days.

Doh! said...

Yes, a commentator on a post points out several independent, unconnected local business's that are a success to illustrate a point about service. You, anon are suggesting that there is a sinister plot to freeze out other business's.

You really do make yourself look batshit crazy with that kind of groundless assertion. Good luck, as always it's worth pointing out that you can comment freely on here as long as you are not libellous, racist, etc, etc... The irony of anons constantly complaining that other voices are not heard is laughable.

Anonymous said...

I am saying that providing good service is counter cultural in the UK.

I am not just talking about the West End. Go anywhere, the British generally have to have it drummed into them to treat customers with respect.

Other cultures are much happier with the concept.

The local businesses that do recruit the local British population have to work harder to keep up a decent standard. Even then, some of the staff really do not get it. Sometimes, the proprietors don't get it either. Customers also, do not really know how to complain or ask for better service.

The positive thing about this is that, if you do provide good service, it puts a business ahead of the game.

Now all of this, I would have thought, would be fairly common knowledge. But it does not surprise me that someone who is working within the business has little idea of what it looks like from a customers point of view.

That ostrich mentality explains a lot.

Mb said...

Don't know if you've ever eaten in an Italian restaurant in Italy? If you want distain, rudeness and sharp practice I suggest you try. Not all by any means but no worse....in MY experience. Having said that I can't stand overfamiliar "everything ok sir?" Service. Just want it accurate, fast, discrete and basic politeness.

Brockley Nick said...

Bof.

Brockley Ben said...

I don't think poor service is counter-cultural in the UK – lots of people are very good at service when they give it a go – but I do think that there is something of a cultural aversion to service (particularly in food and drink) *as a career*, which is not quite the same thing.

The preponderance of French maitre d's in high-end restaurants (even the word itself) is no accident. These are people who have taken pride in a career in front-of-house catering. Waiting at table does not seem to be a favoured life-choice choice in the UK, just a holiday job or a stop-gap.

Brockley Nick said...

Now that is insightful, thank you Ben.

You should write for BC!

Anonymous said...

Here you get waiting staff who get told to ask whether everything is alright at each of their tables every twenty minutes or so.

That is so annoying. The times when you are having an intimate conversation or about to tell the punchline of a joke and the waiting staff thoughtlessly ruin the moment with a pointless interruption.

The general notion of observing the body language and anticipating the needs of a table seems an obvious thing, but quite rare. You only tend to experience it in places that treat the front of house staff as professionals and train them (and pay them) accordingly.

I can count on one hand the times when I have been impressed by service in the UK.

Most waiting staff and their employers see the job as casual and low status. And that is the standard of service you get, even when the food is quite good.

When I have visited the US, the contrast is stark. The waiters are professional and efficient. If there is anything wrong people complain and the manager had better be given a good explanation or the waiter is sacked. On the other hand, the waiters expect to be rewarded. Try paying anything less than a 20% tip and you can get chased down the street in New York.

Here, it seems we often get it wrong. Egocentric management, poorly paid and poorly trained staff. Though at least the food is improving.

How many of the local places mentioned actually have table service? Most are counter service, customers form a orderly queue. The Gantry and the Orchard have waiting staff. Both employ people from many countries. The Gantry, especially, has a very continental ambience.

I think it would be quite remarkable to have a restaurant manned by the British.

Even Basil Fawlty had a Spanish waiter and Canadian waitress.

Anonymous said...

I actually think some of the opposite to is to blame - people expecting Ritz service for McDonalds prices who feel they can berate lowly paid serving staff because they're in a restaurant. It reminds me of road rage - the setting somehow needlessly dictating the tone. Perhaps if customers were a little more civil (I'm speaking to you, "I want to speak with the manager now" types) then servers would follow suit.

As it stands, when I eat in local restaurants like TopChef I'm left to enjoy my meal and pay afterwards, as it should be.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but the actual issue is the following line "Try paying anything less than a 20% tip and you can get chased down the street in New York."

There is an expectation of the waiting staff to get the service charge regardless of the quality (automatically added on) and made difficult to not pay, so why bother offering good service.

Having said that crap service is also much better than a ridiculous charge like 20%... I also have to say I find the American service the most painful, too fake happy.

HOB said...

Anon: "... it is generally regarded as beneath the dignity of any English person to serve another. If they do, it becomes a bit like Fawlty Towers."

Me: Well, I'm English, I work in Catering, I take pride in it.

You: ...If they [the British]have such a job they do it grudgingly and usually not very well...
If you have not been able to observe this sort of thing after two decades in the business, maybe you have not had enough experience as a customer...That ostrich mentality explains alot"

Me: Well thanks for taking it from a refutation of your premise to your insight into my capacity for professional pride, I'm also touched by your concern that I may not get out enough.

Anonymous said...

Ahem! In Top Chef, you go up to the counter, queue up. When it is your turn, you say what number meal you want, pay, and then take a seat and wait for it to be brought to you.

That is a counter service that minimises the staff required. It doesn't say very much about waiting service because there isn't any. It is the system commonly used in cafes.

Are you sure you go into Top Chef?

Anonymous said...

You can have professional pride in the part you play, but that is only one part of a larger package.

A restaurant experience from a customer point of view rests on the ambiance of the place itself, the front of house service and the quality of the food and drink provided by the chef their team. It is rare that they get all three right.

It is true though, customers often do not know how to complain and the staff do not know how to handle it. For every boorish type who demands to see the manager over some small thing, there are a far greater number of customers who tolerate the most God awful sloppiness but do not complain.

Watching a restaurant full of British customers wait patiently for an hour or more for their dinner to arrive while being purposefully ignored by the staff is quite remarkable.

Try experiencing life as a customer more often. Sometimes it is a grim experience. With your twenty years experience, I am sure you can give the management a few pointers.

HOB said...

Nope, still don't get how your poor dining experiences put you in a position to say how often I go out, or that I can't tell the difference between good & bad service.
I mantain there are plenty of examples of British people running & working in restaurants, pubs and cafes in this area and London as a whole and doing it well to counteract the sometimes grim experiences.

Anonymous said...

I guess your opinion is formed from working within the business and that is where your loyalties lay.





Welcome to 2012 said...

If your personality is remotely like the impression you give in your comments, no wonder you receive bad service.

Anonymous said...

Yes Mr Fawlty!

Anonymous said...

@Welcome to 2012
Exactly what I've been thinking. The reason he may not get all three things in a British restaurant is probably because the food has something the chef didn't put in it...

Anonymous said...

I am sure if we should have low expectations and make few demands on service staff, we will be well rewarded by their generous nature?

I shall vote for that sentiment with my feet.



Tressilliana said...

Has anyone eaten there yet? The menu looks OK.

Anonymous said...

They were open on pop-up hours on Friday. I had a chicken sandwich, was pretty nice.

Jenny said...

I went to Villa Toscana last night. Thoroughly impressed - great food, stylish interior and attentive friendly staff. A great addition to the Brockley eating scene. I will be back and they also will be doing brunch on a Sunday. The people behind this venture know how to run restaurants. Delicious.

Anonymous said...

So what did you have?

WinnersDinners said...

Villa Toscana: what’s it like ?

The service at our table was by Roberto, an amiable Sardinian, who was just about that right bit attentive without being overbearing.

He was assisted by a young and attractive Italian woman who unfortunately didn’t have much of a grasp of English. (I wonder how the place would cope on a busy night..?)

It was fairly busy when we visited on a Friday but with tables to spare. I’m sure that will change in future.

Atmosphere ?

Both nights we were the first customers there.

It was a bit cold. But once the heating was on and more customers arrived it was a very pleasant atmosphere indeed.

The staff were very friendly and chatty, but not overly intrusive.

It was less noiser than the Orchard and less intimate than the Gantry.

On the two nights that we have dined there the tables were immaculately dressed and the ambience excellent.

You say, ‘It looks like a normal, ordinary, good Italian, What's not to like ?’ Well, I wasn’t overly-impressed by the two naked (cheap) statues outside, which also serve to cheapen the interior, but shouldn’t. Passers-by might not see beyond that gaudy frontage and the statues, which is a shame.

The menu, I won’t go into as Nick is covering that later but we all enjoyed our meals. (It may though be a special night out for us in future as the bill was £140! Two bottles of house wine in there!)

One thing I think they should change is that when the bill arrived our wonderful waiter asked us how much we would like to tip. I think the English like to be discreet in that department.

Villa Toscana is nothing like the Orchard, or the Gantry. Each will complement the other, creating a busier restaurant hub near Brockley Station. What’s not to like?

Anonymous said...

@WD

£140 for how many people?

Brockley Central Label Cloud