“El Vergel specialises in South American food – not your average Tex-Mex muck, but mainly Chilean with a sprinkling of Cuban: empanadas, pastel de choclo, a stew chock-full of chicken and corn, tacos, steak sandwiches with avocado and refried beans in Chilean flatbread, vegetable soup, chicken broth and other terrific stuff that incites a queue at lunchtimes. Not surprisingly the seats behind the takeaway counter are highly sought after. A great and unexpected find.
Sick of sandwiches, fancy a torta mexicana or empananda for lunch? El vergel the South American and Mediterranean caterer has opened a deli and takeaway in front of it’s kitchen and sells wonderful South American snacks for lunch. Until now El Vergel only catered in quantities for parties; now anyone in the neighbourhood can pop in for an individual portion- either cooked to order like a steak sandwich-Churrasco Palta ( Rump steak with avocado and tomato ) in Chilean pan amasado (rich, buttery flat bread baked on the premises) –or already cooked for the catering menu.
Lawyers have lucked out, since the shop is equidistant from two courts and the bewigged ones seek out the shop as an alternative to canteens. Ex-pats make the journey for completos (frankfurter in a roll with avocado, mayo, tomato and onion) which owes it’s existance to German influence in Chile and apparently makes them go misty eyed. Such filled rolls and empanadas (like Cornish pasties filled with spinach and fetta or mussels, apart, there is a hot dish such as fabulous flageolet, pumpkin and corn soupy stew taken from the party menu everyday. Regular customers bring their own bowls or are allowed to borrow El Vergel’s pottery ones.
Dips like hummus tzatziki, red salsa sauce to go with tortilla chips and a great guacamole made with tomato, spring onion and heaps of coriander – nothing like the green slime you usually find in Mexican restaurant –can be combined into a tapas box.There are great cakes like a Lebanese version of halva made with semolina, almonds and brandy, and it’s own cheesecake.
As well as what’s on offer for lunch anything on the catering menu can be ordered in advance to take away and El Vergel will prepare the dishes like the traditional pastel de choclo (meat corn stew to take home and pass off as your own, if you’re that dishonest) it also prepares buffets for the office in the area. Intended only as an adjunct to the catering business which takes place at the back of the old forge building that houses El Vergel, the takeaway food the shop offers is enough to make you wish you work in the otherwise fairly godforsaken neighbourhood.
This smallish sandwich bar and cafe is a busy little hive of activity with a host of servers and preparers bustling around and speaking high-speed Spanish. Chilean-owned and run, El Vergel combines an intimate cafe, with a delicatessen (humous, red salsa sauce or coriander sauce, Chilean ‘village bread’) and takeaway doing a roaring trade in this sandwich-starved corner of Bankside.
The food is incredibly good; so good, in fact, that it would seem a sin to have anything that wasn’t a speciality – try churrasco palta (runp steak, avocado and tomato in Chilean village bread, ) or torta Mexicana (refried beans, guacamole, chicken and lettuce).
This successful Latin American sandwich bar is hidden down a tiny Borough side-street, but the food is so good that people come from far and wide.
El Vergel is one of the few places in London where you’ll find a proper Mexican torta: a heavy bread roll typically filled with chicken, refried beans, guacamole, cheese and salsa sauce. A soft tortilla filled with refried beans, feta cheese, coriander, guacamole and spring onion was light and fresh. All the usual cafe standards are served too, but it’d be a shame to miss out on such excellent cooking.
When it comes to snacks, Chilean food is not exactly up there with a Big Mac and fries. Yet El Vergel is putting Chile on the food map with spicy, intensely satisfying churrasco (homebaked stuffed flatbread wraps).
Try the Palta – thin sliced rump steak, avocado and roasted tomato – or queso, which substitutes cheese for Steak. Or opt for the torta mexicana: chicken, refried beans, cheese, guacamole and salsa. Strictly for those who can afford a siesta under their desk afterwards.
If you order by phone before 11am and spend over £20, this superb Latin American sandwich bar and Café will deliver. It’s a good way to avoid the long lunchtime queues.
Churrasco queso is a hearty sandwich of tender steak, melted cheese and tomatoes in Chilean village bread. Other good choices are the corn tortillas filled with goodies such as shredded chicken breast, refried beans, lettuce cheese guacamole and fresh, lively salsa, or hot special lamb stew with rice.
You’ll have to squish in with barristers from the nearby court and local design folk to eat at one long table in this brilliant – and cheap – Latin American breakfast-and-lunch place convenient for Tate Modern. Chilean Kiko Sanhueza and his partner Stella make everything from scratch, including the ‘village bread’ and empanadas that can be filled with churrasco (thinned slices cut from a side of Argentinian beef), salsa and chilli. Lunch, including very good coffee, costs around a fiver.
El Vergel is not the kind of place that you just stumble upon. Tucked away just behind Borough tube station, this unassuming eatery may not look like much more than your average sandwich shop, but take a closer look and you will find it filled to the brim not only with locals but also diners who have come from far and wide to feast on authentic Chilean food. Popular dishes include churrasco palta – Argentinian rump steak with avocado and tomato in Chilean village bread – while hot daily specials run along the lines of Peruvian lamb stew with freshly squeezed orange juice and coriander, served with rice and salad.
The speed at which you can grab a gourmet bite in this busy, top-notch café and takeaway is incredible. Even more so when you consider the quality and breadth of El Vergel’s inventive, broadly South American menu, and the fact that waitresses must carefully pick their way round the narrow band of floorspace between the central bench table and peripheral wall-mounted bar. Catering solely for the morning and lunchtime weekday rush, it serves everything from a Latin fried breakfast (including Chilean village bread and the option to substitute bacon with Spanish chorizo) to empanadas fried before your eyes, plus tortillas, tacos, tostadas, freshly filled sarnies and boxed salads. If only all sandwich bars were as good.
The speed at which you can grab a gourmet bite in this busy, top-notch café and takeaway is incredible. Even more so when you consider the quality and breadth of El Vergel's inventive, broadly South American menu... The food is so good that people come from far and wide...
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