Vivat Bacchus – London Bridge

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.

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Wafer thin biltong

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.

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Medium rare flat iron steak + triple fried chips with pepper sauce

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.

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Cheeseboard (French/Italian) – top down: Comté, Reblochon, Gorgonzola, Fourme d’Ambert

Do you believe in cheeses?

Vivat Bacchus has its own cheese room (you can select your own cheeseboard with the help of a cheesepert) or you can pick a suggested (but adaptable) cheeseboard – British, French or Italian.

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 (see below).

More of the menu:

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VB salad starter – beetroot, fennel, broccoli, radish, avocado, gorgeous


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Carpaccio starter


Côte de Boeuf on the bone – a 28 day dry aged forerib chop (1050g for 3 people @ £69.00)


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Rib eye steak


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Kangaroo burger


French cheeseboard – a ‘monthly special’ – Comté, Coulommiers, Affidelice au Chablis, Pont Yeu, Bleu des Causses

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Coley fish with potato rosti, roast fennel + chorizo

Camera Roll-38 - Vivat Bacchus London Bridge
Steak + fries

Restaurant info:
~ 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

Vivat Bacchus on Urbanspoon


2 Responses

  1. Hi there! I really enjoyed this post and wanted to ask you a couple of questions via email. Would you mind sending me a note at the address I provided? Thank you!

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