I've visited this place several times over the past two years, coming up for the usually tasty food and not the invariably shoddy service.
Last weekend was the final straw. I was completely ignored for the 10-15 minutes between walking in and picking my own seat. Any time I glanced at a member of staff they veered off an went to seve someone else. The place was not busy.
The service in here has alway been lousy with one or two honorable exceptions - the food & reasonable prices (with exception of their drinks) made up for that. But I've had enough now and won't be returning.
Had brunch here for the first time.
Food and wine were good, and reasonably priced, but service was poor.
Staff seemed in the main polite however occasionally impolite and towards the end of the night very disinterested. Dishes seemed a little on the light side - 3 10p sized new potatoes and 3 tiny slithers of chorizo - £5. Could take it if the food was amazing. Steak sandwiches and Cerviche were very bland in comparison to other similar places at similar prices. Most dishes lacked flavour and substance.
We had a party of 12 and massive billing issues. They tried to charge us £631 which felt wrong. On inspection they had given us another tables bill. When I politely pointed out that, as a start, we hadn't had £60 of mohitos there was a stroppy tutt and the bill was snatched from my hand whilst our party just looked on open mouthed. We then got another bill for £136 - too low - we were honest and didn't accept that either. £250 would have been closer. Then we actually had to make the bill up from memory as we were told the first bill had our orders on it and orders from another large party. One couple who had to get back home to relieve babysitter almost missed their waiting taxi (which oddly the staff initially seemed reluctant to order for us?? - venue is not in an easy taxi flag down area). Whole experience felt very wrong. Bland food and poor service, two very important issues that need solving. Chilenan cabernet was very decent though but that's just ordering from a supplier.
Seems to be struggling to make transition from sandwich shop/cafe to a credible eatery. A smile costs nothing back a lack of one costs dear.... and there is simply just no excuse to be rude especially if a customer has valid reason to be frustrated with you. ie trying to fob them off with a huge bill which is not even close to their real total.
El Vergel is a most welcome addition and pleasant place to eat and drink. But I do hope that they are aware that when the space is rented out for the evening to what I presume was a third party - as was the case on Friday 9th April - the music and noise from guests can be disturbing for people living nearby in the immediate area. I had to work on saturday and could not get to sleep until well past 1.30am. I would have thought that the licence that El Vergel has applies to anybody else who might use the venue for a private party/event?
I'd like to direct a reply to edovall who wrote a review about el vergel on Friday 12 February. On reading the review I almost felt that you were talking about another restaurant, describing totally unfamiliar feelings towards our food and service. I would just like to clarify a few facts before I go on any further.
Apart from me, we are all Latin American, and the day you ate at el vergel,presuming this was the same day you wrote your review, we were serving one of our most popular dishes, Pastel de Choclo, which is the Friday special, the most authentic Chilean dish, specially prepared by our chef, who is also Chilean.
The feeling I get from your review is more about the fact that you couldn't pay by card, and that you felt we were arrogant. I am sorry to hear this and apologise for any wrong feelings. As a result of your review, we have now placed signs by the entrance and on the bill to say that credit cards are not accepted in order to re-enforce the small print on the menu; but most importantly we would like to invite you to come back to el vergel, for lunch, on the house, as we strongly believe that all our customers should be satisfied customers, giving our food and service the merit it deserves.
Apart form a couple of coloured fabrics hung on the bare concrete walls there is nothing South American about the place despite the website boasts a rich cultural background. Food quality is ok although in remarkably small portions. Service seemed decent at first but when we presented our debit card we were told that "cards are not accepted". When we pointed out that there is no sign anywhere in the restaurant stating this we were arrogantly told that is written in small prints at the back of the menu. The closest cash point is 15 mins walk. No apologies were given for this inconvenience.
Although food was not bad overall experience rather negative. Would not recommend. Plenty of better places within 10 mins walk distance.
Saturday I went to El Vergel to order a take away selection of delicious sandwiches and tortillas chips with tasty Latino dipping. The presentation was brilliant and food very good. They have a wide selection of choices with a truly Chilean soul.
But the best was a sublime Cheese-cake with wild black cherries as a topping which was the best I ever had in ages.
The party was a success.
Thank you Stella and the wonderful Staff.
The lady and I popped in for brunch on Saturday, and were delighted with this little place. She had a tostada, while I had the Vergel breakfast - both were splendid. Authentic menu, friendly service, cheap, delicious. Shall be returning.
I was so glad to read that El Vergel had started opening on saturdays, in addition to their usual weekday lunch service. I went along with my sister for saturday lunch, and it was really very good. The cafe was quiet and clean, and service was friendly and attentive. I had the churrascuro palta, which is tomatoes, avocado and steak on (homemade?) Chilean bread, which was a bit like a less-oily foccacia, and cost £4.50. My sister had a generously proportioned salad served with a wedge of spanish omlette with green beans in (£4.50 as well I think). We'll definately be back; I can't wait to try the tacos and empanadas!
Busy and manic but somehow orderly, El Vergel is a gem in SE1. HOW do they feed so many people so fast and so well? True that they often run out of dishes, but the friendly staff are so nice it doesn't matter!
Great empanadas and tacos, legendary salads and scrumptious homemade cherry cheesecake is a MUST!
Having Chilean parents, I was keen to try out this place when I moved to SE1. Unfortunately, its not open at evenings or weekends so I finally got to try it a few months later when I had some time off work and it didn't disappoint. The empanadas are authentic and delicious as are the churascos! The pebre (salsa-type sauce) is also very good. I only wish they'd open at weekends!
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