I am a devout follower of The Cheese Truck gang. I’ve never met them but each and every Saturday morning during the winter rugby season I have shown up to their Maltby Street Market stand and ordered their original toastie and scoffed it hot – molten cheese rolling between my fingers and all. For £5.50 I can afford two if the weather calls for it.
You’d think making a cheese toastie would be something simple. Yet even in the last month I’ve witnessed a few players in the hospo arena having catastrophic fails in their attempts. The worst I’ve has was from the guys behind the newest restaurant getting *TOP* #1 spot on last week’s The Times 100 Best Restaurants List.
The guys from the Clove Club recently opened Luca in Clerkenwell and it’s didn’t go down well (full review here). We were lulled into a false sense of security and stupidly ordered the £14 truffle cheese toastie. Possibly the worst bread product not to come out of a Gregg’s.
So when I learned that the Cheese Truck guys had an outpost in Deptford Market Yard I was all ears. I did some research and found that just across the road from them – under those ubiquitous railway arches was also a new brewery worth checking out….
Villages Brewery in Deptford (literally 2 mins walk from the station) was only birthed into this world in December 2016. It’s a partnership between the two Village brothers – one previously from Gipsy Hill brewery and the other from Fourpure who decided they wanted to go in their own direction. They found a site, poured all their cash into a brew kit that Gipsy Hill upgraded from and started brewing. It’s an endeavour of love cemented by the fact that one of the brothers is having to live in his van out front after putting his savings to get the place started up.
They’re still on their first few brews but this are looking and tasting very positive. Their Rodeo Pale Ale (4.6%) will still be undergoing certain tweaks in the next brew but I found it tasting great already. Whistle Pilsner (4.4%) again was a great example of a pilsner that will have it’s current sweetness levels dialled down a bit in it’s next connotation. The brand new Pontoon South Pacific Red Ale (4.3%) was an absolute winner for me. If you can get your hands on their Les Gilles Dubbel (6.5%) (aged on Sour cherries) which is a collab with Gipsy Hill – then make sure you do so!
I was also allowed to sample the new stout that was released at a taproom party on February 10th. While it still needed time in the tanks to carbonate, it was certainly tasting delicious once it warmed up.
All this certainly got me in the mood for the cheesy goodness to come from Archies. The menu is much larger that what you find at their market stalls (and I expect to to get even more diverse once they open their next place in central London) but if they could deliver these dishes as well as they can do with just a hotplate – then we’re all in good hands.
They have a nice tight list of craft beers on offer and would have been a beacon in the night for craft beer lovers when Villages brewery didn’t exist (and I epoxy those not doing their research won’t know it’s there until more stories go up about them). We sank into Moor’s So’Hop sessional pale ale before moving onto Burning Sky’s Easy Answers IPA. Both beers were in top form and very unique to find on a beer list around town – let alone in Deptford.
Kicking off with the Mozzarella Sticks (£5) is definitely a good idea. Hot and gooey with an amazing sweet tomato sauce – definitely a table crowd pleaser.
Every man and his restaurant has jumped on the hype train and put their version of Mac and Cheese on the menu. Fun fact: Macaroni cheese was 550% more likely to appear on restaurant menus across the past 12 months compared with 2010, according to analyst Horizons. Most are absolute rubbish. But Archie’s Macaroni Cheese (£7) is da bomb. Using wheel-shaped pasta – the surface area to molten cheese is life affirming and gets polished off abnormally fast.
Queso Fundido (£7) brought back oil slick nightmares from our recent visit to Breddos but Archies knocked this one out of the park.
The original any my go-to sanger every Saturday is The Cheese Truck’s Keens cheddar, Ogleshield and mixed onion (£5.50) toastie. Perfect width of break to ensure the way it shatters that matters between the teeth.
I was very impressed by their Rosary goat’s cheese, honey, walnut and rosemary butter (£6). A well balanced mix of sweet and savoury, all that creaminess did the job when reupping on the Moor So’Hop that we had all dug into.
As I always look for a special, the Mozzarella, tomato, chilli jam and basil (£6) was never not going to be ordered. And it didn’t let me down – the spice really kicked things up a notch while the pull of the slowly cooling mozzarella gave it a nice chewy mouthfeel that you don’t tend to get in their other offerings.
Full yet? NEVER. This wedge of Vanilla Cheesecake (£4) closed down the party with how good it was. Seriously killed it and I thought the toasties were the best a man can get…
Deptford is up an coming. Yes, you heard it here first folks. Make a beeline for Villages Brewery to back a local business who has poured every last dine they have into something they hope will the community will back then head over for the best hot cheese products this side of the sun. They’re so good I’m planning to do this exactly the same way tonight.
Villages Brewery: 21-22 Resolution Way, Deptford, London SE8 4NT. Website.
Archies: Deptford Market Yard, Arch 12, London SE8 4NS. Website.