Vivat Bacchus at London Bridge was heaving at 6.30pm last night. I’d reserved a table for 6.45pm and was kept waiting in a queue at the door. The man behind me – who was dining outside – was struggling to get a waiter’s attention to order drinks for his table. It wasn’t the best first impression. Would this turn out to be the experience I was hoping for?
Once greeted, we were shown to our table on the quieter cellar floor and were looked after superbly from start to finish. Any initial doubts quickly evaporated.
One of the reasons H and I chose this restaurant was because of the the wine list: it includes some great South African wines such as Graham Beck (we visited a Graham Beck vineyard in Franschhoek together a couple of years ago and sampled some excellent wines there).
And so we ordered a bottle of Graham Beck brut NV from the sparkling wine list, reasonably priced at £29.90, “a dangerously good South African sparkler which was served at Obama’s inauguration” (reputedly causing controversy with Californian winemakers, but hey ho – only the best for the U.S. President…). And munched on some peppered, wafer-thin biltong @ £4.00 (is this the best looking biltong you’ve ever seen – it looks like dried carpaccio, hey?) while reading the a la carte menu.
Homing in on the main course grills – and taking advice from our helpful waiter – we both opted for a current special (check website or Open Table for latest promotions): 6 oz (170g) flat iron steak (rump/buttock) with triple fried chips and a glass of wine @ £15.00. Seriously good value; a seriously good cut of beef perfectly cooked (medium rare), and faultless chunky, crisp-coated chips.
The au poivre sauce @ £2.75 (smooth blend pepper-corn gravy, not crunchy) was a perfect accompaniment for dunking fat chips.
Do you believe in cheeses?
Substituting Coulommiers (soft and Brie-like) with Gorgonzola Dolce (from the Italian board) we – again helped by our waiter – chose a French cheeseboard @ £18.50, comprising
~ Comté (I lived in the Franche-Comté region for a short while a looo-ong time ago and this fast became my favourite cheese)
~ Reblochon de Savoie (brie-like)
~ Gorgonzola Dolce (gorgeously melting, Italian)
~ Fourme d’Ambert (blue cheese)
Comté is available in all the supermarkets these days but this chunk of hard cheese at Vivat Bacchus took me right back to its source. Fair to say it was pretty special.
The *freebie* glass of red wine with the steak was an Indaba Mosaic (South African blend of CabSauv, Merlot + Malbec) – nice enough that we ordered a bottle @ £19.50 with the cheeseboard.
The verdict: Fab service, great food, really good value. Can’t wait to return.
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: South African, international
~ Address: 4 Hays Lane, London Bridge, London
~ Postcode: SE1 2HB
~ Tel: 020 7234 0891
~ Nearest station: London Bridge
~ Website + menus: Vivat Bacchus website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Vivat Bacchus
~ Location: Vivat Bacchus map
Filed under: International, LardButty food / restaurant reviews, South African | Tagged: 4 Hays Lane, best sparkling white wines, best sparkling wine, best sparkling wines, biltong, dining, flat iron steak, Graham Beck, Graham Beck brut, Graham Beck Brut N.V., Graham Beck brut NV, Hays Lane, Indaba, Indaba Mosaic, Lardbutty, LardButty London, London, London Bridge, Obama inauguration, Obama’s inauguration, SE1 2HB, South African, South African cuisine, South African restaurant, Vivat Bacchus | Leave a comment »