Village East turns out to be a bustling snug of a place, all nooks and crannied holes. We’re hustled to a table and meet Halo, our waiter.
A sort of milder Chris Eubank with a prominent chin stud, nothing’s a problem where H is involved (we know because he keeps reiterating the point).
Still, he’s more charm than irritant and slickly efficient, exuding just enough mateyness to add gloss to the joint without tipping over into creepy.
That’s good. We’re here for the brews (and their accompanying comestibles); to test a menu conceived in honour of London Beer Week. Hobnobbing with saints and youth hostelling are off.
Fortunately, the potent pork, sage and onion arancini (£6.50) aren’t. Hobbled a little by Yankee mustard, they’re well matched with a Whitstable Bay Blonde Lager refresher.
Better still is the partnership between buttermilk fried chicken with beer waffles (£18) and Kernel Export Stout 1890. The dish is enormous, moist and compellingly biteable after a mouthful of the dense chocolate-rich brew.
Hopefully they’ll tone it down a bit ahead of launch to gift the unwary a smidgeon of room for dessert because the beer ice cream with toffee popcorn and chocolate brownie (£6) is too much on top.
We’re defeated, more quickly than expected thanks to the appearance of another rich beer – Anspach And Hobday’s The Smoked Brown.
It’s a good match, but too heavy at the end of an evening of calorie intake.
You’ll need a stomach with the capacity of an empty keg, but this special menu at Village East has some pull.
Village East, 171-173 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UW, 020 7357 6082
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