This week we were invited by the lovely people at Vivat Bacchus to their Farringdon location for dinner. I had heard of Vivat Bacchus, of course, its South African origin and fame for cheese and wine preceding it. If you’ve read my posts before, you’ll know that I am the cheese and wine queen of the Boozy Bunch, known for my fromage filled festivities, so I was pretty excited to visit.
When we arrived, we were greeted by their charming host and set about choosing a wine to start from their extensive menu. My boyfriend had travelled to South Africa a few years prior and decided we had to try their 2012 Kaapzicht Pinotage. It was the perfect start to our meal and set the scene for exploring the menu.
For our meal, our host Gentjan helped us to decide by recommending some of his favourite dishes. Up first, burrata di Puglia. Perfectly smooth and creamy mozzarella sitting on crostini and topped with sun dried tomatoes and a slight dusting of sea salt. Honestly, I could have easily eaten a dozen of these crostini – the mozzarella was refreshing but decidedly decadent.
We had clearly gone for the light but devastating starters, as up next was charred carpaccio with asian slaw. I’ve had carpaccio before but it was a poor cousin of this dish. Vivat Bacchus’ carpaccio was paper thin but bursting with flavour and practically melt-in-your-mouth. I had forked up a taste and then had to follow it with another and another. My poor boyfriend barely got a look in. Definitely order this, worth every penny, but trust me, do not share.
Now Vivat Bacchus is known for its cheese and wine but no visit would be complete without trying a steak from its famous big-Bertha charcoal oven. For me, it had to be the Wagyu sirloin served with a classic bernaise sauce. It was cooked exceptionally well and unbelievably tender.
My boyfriend decided that when in Rome/South Africa that he’d have to try the ostrich. This came topped with a mustardy biltong crust, which was pretty good, but honestly the steak itself was so delicious that it could easily be served alone. The ostrich is an interesting meat, it’s as tender and satisfying as beef but half the calories and lower in fat and cholesterol. Suffice to say, he would definitely order it again. Medium rare, no messing around.
As an unashamed cheese plate lover, the highlight of our visit to Vivat Bacchus was a peek inside the ‘Cheese Room’. We had initially been wowed by seeing that they have an entire cheese menu with cheeseboards reflecting the best offerings from Britain, France and Italy, but who wants to order off the menu but you can have the ‘Cheese Room Experience’. You step inside the chilled room, breathe deeply in the intoxicating aroma of so many cheeses and try not to get over-excited as you choose the contents of your own cheeseboard. I tried a couple of spectacular cheeses, the Fourme d’Ambert from France and a Lancashire Bomb, phew that one was a knock-out. I can 100% recommend this if you want to take someone on a fun and delicious date.
We could hardly say no to dessert, but after such a feast, decided that one of their petit pots would have to do. A light and refreshing little treat, the mango panna cotta was the perfect end to the meal, accompanied beautifully by a glass of dessert wine.
Our wines for the evening.
I can highly recommend a visit to Vivat Bacchus, the food is absolutely fantastic and I loved the huge selection of wines by the glass, giving you so many more options to explore. The high point of our meal was how knowledgeable our host was and willing to offer his expert opinion on what to choose. All too often you visit a restaurant and the staff just don’t have the experience or knowledge to guide you in choosing and you miss out on what could be an exceptional pairing with your food.
Far from being just a restaurant, Vivat Bacchus also host a number of cheese and wine events, drop in and let me know how you get on. But if you lock yourself in the cheese room and refuse to come out, I’m denying all knowledge of you!
You can find Vivat Bacchus at:
47 Farringdon Street,
London EC4A 4LL
020 7353 2648