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The East Dulwich Forum
Would you recommend your East Dulwich doctor, dentist or butcher?
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messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by david_carnell 14 December, 2011 13:36

leaglebeagle - thank you for kindly replying to some other people's comments. It's good that businesses interact with customers and take on board criticisms without feeling like they are under attack.

For the record, I'm a regular G&B customer for your retail wines and have in the past, although rarely, eaten and drunk in the bar area. I thought the old food was.....decent, without ever really being amazing. But that's fine.

I also appreciate the High St rents are phenemonal and overheads are things most customers don't know, understand or care about. You have my sympathies on that.

But I'm afraid you've not dealt with my problem. In winter, in the midst of an economic depression, you've launched a menu of, essentially snacks, that are in some instances twice the price of other high-end competitors that are hardly inviting. I want to spend my money with you, I really do.

I want to come in for a glass of red and some hearty casserole (or cassoulet if you want to East Dulwich-fy it) to keep the chill at bay, but I don't want to drop the best part of £20 to do it by the time I've tipped. It's taking the proverbial. I don't want to sounds like I'm nit-picking or being awful towards you but I just can't ever imagine spending that sort of money on a regular basis - and surely that's what you should want, regular custom. I'll continue to buy the wine from the shop but I'm going from an infrequent eater to a non-existent one.

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by legalbeagle 14 December, 2011 14:15

David - I'm not sure I'd agree with you about the menu. Some details that might help to explain this a bit:

We have a part of the menu that contains smaller dishes. These are around the price you would pay for a starter (£6-7) and are designed for a table to order two or three dishes for sharing, or to have just one for yourself as a smaller, lighter, cheaper lunch. So for example you could have potted shrimp with toast as a lighter lunch for £7. I've tried it, it's quite a lot of food but not too much, and it's delicious.

There is another part of the menu that has "main meals" on it, these are all priced between £8 and £11, apart from the ones that are designed for a table to share, which are more. So yesterday I had the Montbeliard Sausage dish, which is £10. Warming and again delicious.

We also have specials now and again, which are mostly vegetarian, so you can have a yellow lentil sort of stew type dish for £9 which again had me properly full up. (I am not known for having a sparrow's appetite).

Meantime we have the same wines, cakes, coffees, pastries as before if that's your thing.

I do think that we need to do a little more work on a cheaper lunchtime menu, and you will see that the G&B team commented earlier in the thread that we are working with the chef on this.

There are several other things to bear in mind:

First, if cheap lunches had kept us afloat, we'd still be selling them. The fact is that they weren't. We've made changes that we have had to make. We don't like charging you more. But we don't like going out of business either.

Secondly, I can't comment on how we match up to others, Franklins included (who BTW I like at lot). You and I have no idea what rent, staffing, financial backing, landlord etc each business on the Lane has to contend with, nor what loss leaders or special deals they have decided to try. We each do what we need to do to survive and hopefully thrive.

And last, we are practically limited in what food we can produce. We do not have the full kitchen that other restaurants such as Franklins and Palmerston have. The local council would not grant A3 usage for that part of the building and so we had to work with what we could get. That limits us. We do our very best with what we have.

We are listening and we are trying our best. I'm sorry to hear you won't be joining us on our new journey.

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by waddinac 14 December, 2011 14:56

I've read this thread with interest and while I rarely feel compelled to comment on this forum, particularly with negative comments, I would like to provide some feedback on my visit to Green and Blue last night.

I am a member of the Green and Blue Book Club, which has been meeting at Green and Blue on a monthly basis for the past three years (I have been a member for almost two years). Last night was our first meeting since the refurbishment and sadly, it looks like we will be looking for a new venue and a name change. Obviously I am posting in a personal capacity here, but from our discussions last night, the key points that emerged were:

Good points:
1) We like what you've done with the bar area as you come in - this was always under-used and is now a nice little place to have a drink
2) The general consensus was that the decor has been well done. It looks spruced up, less gloomy, with some nice little touches
3) We have always been fans of your Tuesday wine offer and enjoy the wide selection that you have available - we were pleased to see that this is unchanged

Bad points:
1)Our core membership consists of at least 9 people, with the number attending meetings often going up to around a dozen. I understand your reasons for getting rid of the 'snug' as explained above, and we had booked the largest table that you have available, with a view to seeing if we could still make it work. However, on arrival, we were told that we had been put on a smaller table on the corner, since 'not all of us eat a meal', despite the fact that the group on the larger table was smaller than us! Whilst we can understand the economic reasoning behind this, it does not seem to be a good way to treat loyal customers of the past 3 years. As it was, squeezed around our little table in the corner, the Green and Blue Book Club did not feel like we were particularly welcome at the Green and Blue bar.

2) Most of us agreed with david_carnell's comments above concerning the menu. We don't all eat a meal during our meetings but many of us do, and the previous menu offered a wide range of choice from small snacky plates from the deli counter, to jacket potatoes or tarts for those who wanted something more substantial. We were disappointed to find a menu that not only was much more limited in choice, but also very much more expensive. A few of us ate, and most were disappointed with the quality and quantity of the food provided, in light of the associated prices. I had the sausage, and while the sausage itself was good quality, the presentation was most unappealing and it could have done with a bit more of an accompaniment than a pile of cabbage. When paying £10, I tend to expect a bit more than a large sausage plonked on top of some cabbage! As people have commented on this thread, other places in East Dulwich manage to provide more varied fare, at more reasonable prices whilst still using quality ingredients.

We did raise these issues last night with a member of staff and I am afraid we were again disappointed with the response. We understand that you are shifting your focus, but surely this does not preclude some consideration for your loyal customers, many of whom used to visit Green and Blue outside of book club meetings and recommend it to their friends? We were essentially told that the bar is focussing more on the restaurant side of things and can no longer cater for large groups. If the restaurant really is your main focus, I would suggest that you address the comments made on this forum as regards your limited and pricey menu.

As for us, it is with regret that I think the Green and Blue Book Club will now be looking for a new home.

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by david_carnell 14 December, 2011 15:03

LB - Many thanks for taking time to reply. I think you make some fair points and perhaps there was some misunderstanding on my part as to the division of mains and starters, portion sizes and the like.

However, I'll be expecting a whopping amount of black pudding and chick peas for my £11. winking smiley

I have no doubt that you entered into the re-design in good faith and with no desire to alienate customers. I shall reconsider my preconceptions and come and visit, golden nuggets in pocket.

And I'd like to express my support for G&B - you were a vanguard on the Lane in the days before its gentrification. I genuinely hope you do well.

I wish you all the best on "your journey".

Ps - don't use the word journey. You're not on a gap yah. winking smiley

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by Moos 14 December, 2011 15:19

Best of luck to G&B, always a super local business.

I do hope many customers will, like david_carnell, give it time to settle down into its new shape and work with the business to adjust to the changes rather than walking away.

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by Help-Ma-Boab 14 December, 2011 17:17

I'll be givin it a rattle on Saturday for an hour or so. Wee bit of fizz before a boozy xmas lunch. Barry.

Lasers set tae malky. CHARGE!...

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by ab29 14 December, 2011 18:09

Ok Green&Blue, will be back in couple of weeks then to check how the cosy shabbiness is doing ;)

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by reds 14 December, 2011 18:20

I visited last Friday and loved the new look - especially the bar. Green and Blue is everything that East Dulwich needs (independant local business that offers something different with owners that obviously care about their customers). The last thing we want is to close and be replaced by another Adventure Bar

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by ibilly99 14 December, 2011 19:17

Love G&B for retail you can never go wrong and they are always helpful both in person and on the tasting notes. Tried Nicholas once and asked for a recommedation at the £10 price point - vin was French - no surprise there - but to my palate distinctly ordinaire. Plus they have a gallic superiority which seems to look down on what I might paranoically see as my inferiority complex when up against French gourmands of herculean epicure that I feel trivial in comparison.

Ra ra Green and Blue

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by MrsMc 15 December, 2011 23:14

Well done G&B for addressing the issues raised, glad you're working on a children's menu. Can I also ask for the return of the bean scotch egg while we're at it?? Delicious!!

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by scott 16 December, 2011 06:36

I cannot find anything to dislike about the remodel of G & B.
At all.


messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by midivydale 16 December, 2011 10:18

I too was dispointed when I first turned up after the refurb, so much so that I turned away. I was disapointed that the paninis and other lighter choices had been removed from the menu as for me that is what I came there for and the reason I loved the place. I understand however that there are conflicting interests and that any establishment need to make a profit.
For me personally, the paninis, breads with hummus and other lighter dishes were the reason I always went to Green and Blue (and I did so on a weekly basis for years) and with those options no longer available I will need to find my fix of weekly "me time" somewhere else which is a shame.

I think that the response on this thread from Green and Blue were really good and fair and I wish this great place the best of luck! I am looking forward to wine and dinner there at some point in the future, but am disapointed that as my weekly spot for a treat the menu options are just not there.

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by tallulah71 20 December, 2011 20:57

I think G&B looks good, but agreed with some of the posters on here.Far too expensive for such small portions. Anyone can do a small platter of good quality Deli-style food....

Franklins for me!! Consistently good - in every area.

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by Ben_77 22 December, 2011 11:23

I am a huge fan of Green and Blue and my girlfriend and I visit at least once a month. I have no problem with the refurb, like others who have posted I loved the cosy shabbiness before but there are clearly good reasons for the refresh and I think it looks good. However, I was distraught when I saw the new menu and have to agree with some of the posts above - it is now both limited and expensive and in my view not as appealing as it was before.
I don't doubt that it is all delicious and I think G&B's desire to serve well sourced and interesting produce is great and should continue. The new menu certainly seems to achieve that aim and but by getting rid of the simpler dishes (like pate on toast, goats chees on toast, taramasalata, hummus etc) and the platters (I know there is still a selection of cheeses) I fear you risk losing some core customers, myself included. I will of course continue to buy wine from G&B but we certainly won't be eating there regularly anymore based on the new menu.
I understand the commercial reasons for removing loss making items form the menu but cannot believe that you cannot sell cheaper simpler dishes (like the ones on the old menu and that people enjoyed) and not make some margin. The new dishes may be high margin but if you don't sell many of them because people are put off by cost and portion sizes then you'd be better off with a menu full of popular lower margin items.
I think it's fantastic that the G&B team are on here listening to their customers so wanted to make this appeal to bring back some of the old dishes. I donít think you have to get rid of the current dishes, just listen to your customers and expand the menu. I am desperate to continue spending my money at Green and Blue and want to support it so please re-think the menu.

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by Greenandbluegang 22 December, 2011 11:40

Dear Forum

Thanks again to all of you who support our business but have taken the time to express the aspects of the refurbishment that you are less happy with in a reasonable way.

We are not going to go into detail now but would like you to be aware that we are very clear on the failings of the current menu and will be making changes in January/February. As you can all appreciate, relaunching in December is pretty challenging and we need to get through the festive period first.

When we have caught our breath in 2012, making the menu more relevant is going to be top priority though, so please bear with us till then. We will let you know as soon as the changes happen and hopefully those of you who are less pleased with how things are now will be in for another visit then.

Very best wishes

Kate and the Green & Blue Team.

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by NorthernPup 22 December, 2011 15:30

Have now visited 5 times in 3 weeks. Love the new format and urge team and owners to hold your nerve.Too many places on LL pandering to Bugaboos and 2 meals for a tenner. You have a rare and precious place for adults serving good food in an adult environment. I hope you are (deservedly) repaid!!

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by Help-Ma-Boab 23 December, 2011 01:48

I rattled it last sat, liked it, Yep spent a bit of money in less than an hour, but the tea and a pee crowd can't be that fecked aff surely. Seems they cater for them as well. Boisson Rouge. Lovely, honest, in fact, Barry.

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by StraferJack 31 March, 2012 13:09

Need to resurrect this thread after checking latest menu.

The criticisms of the post refurb menu have genuinely been listened to. The menu is now more accessible and well priced withouth being same old same old. Steak with chimichuri sauce? Half roast chicken. Onglet and bavette steaks.

I remember years ago when opening g&b took some stick on here and both braved it out, listened and adapted. And now they have done it again.

My cap is doffed.

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by Greenandbluegang 31 March, 2012 13:26

Thank you SO much, Mr Jack! We have indeed been working incredibly hard to get things exactly how they should be and now that our amazing new chef (Simon)is on board full time, we think that things are indeed much improved.

Lunch time menu should be up and running by May and we'll be doing lots of special evenings like the recent one with Local Greens, so please keep an eye out for these.

So pleased you enjoyed it and hope you'll be back soon.

very best wishes

Green & Blue

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by giggirl 31 March, 2012 14:38

Indeed - hang on in there G&B. You are unique on the lane and I always enjoy my visits (even if it's just because my broadband isn't working at home).

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by bob 31 March, 2012 19:56

Agree with StraferJack they have now brought in more Snakee things to pick at if you don't want a full meal and have acted on customers comment's half one to day all most full well done you.
Bob S

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by Giacomelli 31 March, 2012 20:25

As someone who works in the wine trade, I will always support the independent wine shops/bars. It is very difficult to make money in wine retail, which is why we have so very few independents left, so glad to see that G&B can make extra money elsewhere. Glad to see the wine list is still interesting - life's too short to drink bad wine and all that. Keep it up!

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by SJT 13 April, 2012 11:03

I loved G & B in the early days, attended the School of Wine and was a regular customer at the tastings. I quite like the refurb but have to admit that I go to G & B less and less these days, partly because of the service which I find very mixed- sometimes pretty indifferent and inattentive(particularly in the daytime). Like one of the previous posters, I've had to send dirty glasses and cutlery back on more than a few occasions and contend with messy loos and no loo roll. It's not really what you expect from a enterprise like G & B. I'm sure it didn't used to be like this.

It'd be really good to see G & B staff become less complacent on this front. Also, can I put a vote in for bringing back the Greek spinach tart?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2012:04:13:18:45:08 by SJT.

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by Greenandbluegang 14 April, 2012 18:53

Dear SJT

Firstly, thank you so much for taking the time to make these comments - not partiularly pleasant to see but still very important to know. It is not something we are unaware of and we like to think that we are in the process of fixing it. Clearly we are not quite there yet. No, we didn't use to be like this but the challenges of changing yet trying to essentially remain the same mean that there will be a (hopefully brief) period of readjustment.

What we would like to be very clear on though is that if we have ever come across as cold or indifferent it is down to a number of things; not one of which is feeling complacent about or dissmissive of our customers. That doesn't mean we need to fix them any less urgently of course but we would like you to know this.

We are also in talks with chef Simon over Spinach tart. It won't be the same as before as we are now making almost everything ourselves; but it will be good. Apparently you need to expect something in the quiche vein.

I very much hope we see you soon and thank you again for letting us know.

Green & Blue

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by dukesdenver 28 April, 2012 16:05

Enjoyed good coffee and delicious cake at G&B today. The bar area is nice if you prefer quieter surroundings.

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by reds 28 April, 2012 21:16

Had a meal there last week and, as always, thoroughly enjoyed it. I've always thought it to be a major asset to East Dulwich but think the refurb has improved it even further. It's just that little bit different to the local competition and the quality of wine, food and ambience make it a cut above.

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by Alex K 29 April, 2012 13:54

"We are also in talks with Simon over spinach tart." I like this.

Pyongyang asked to give up nuclear armament programme? Nothing on Simon asked to alter the bill of fare.

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by SJT 19 May, 2012 14:03

Thanks, Green & Blue.

It's really impressive- and encouraging to see you engaging with customers in this way. And quite unusual I'd have thought.

I'll certainly back in, not least to check up on outcomes of Spinach tart conference!



messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by poppy 21 May, 2012 18:35

I went to Green and Blue for lunch today and am sorry to say I won't be returning in a hurry. Since the refurb the menu remains disappointingly short and expensive, despite their attempts in respond to feedback on this thread. I was also surprised to find that on a Sunday over lunch we were the only people in the big room so I can't help but wonder if they are sadly losing customers - such a shame as it always used to be busy and one of my favourite places to go prior to the revamp. Also it occurred to me afterwards that all the wine has been moved - if I didn't know the place, I wouldn't realise it was a wine shop and am now wondering if it even still is....?

It's admirable that the owners are trying to respond to the feedback here but given how markedly quiet it was I do wonder whether there may still be some way to go...

messageRe: Green & Blue
Posted by Otto 21 May, 2012 21:21

Ah....well - I must add a post to counter the previous one - I adore the new menu and have had only the best experiences recently - in fact, so much so that I have been going more often. It is unique, has great wine and the food has really been tip top. I feel lucky to have them on my doorstep.

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