Fine wine and South African cuisine at Vivat Bacchus
Restaurant Review: Vivat Bacchus, London Bridge
Style Points: 3/5
Vivat Bacchus located short distance away from London Bridge station attracts many city workers to its restaurant and downstairs wine bar.
This South African restaurant is known for their extensive collection of high quality wines (and meet and cheese) which explains the corkscrew in the restaurant logo. The restaurant boasts walk-in wine cellars which I'm sure include the best of South African wines amongst the rest.
The restaurant itself has a rustic countryside feel to it, with oakwood furnishings and dark lighting.
What's on the menu?
First up, once seated and settled at Vivat Bacchus, I asked the waiter what his favourite red wine from the restaurant was and his recommendation was perfect, a medium - full bodied red with great long lasting taste.
Then came the food and to start I ordered the pappa al pomodoro (chunky Tuscan and tomato bread) soup, this was a perfect hearty meal served hot which was just the trick as I was feeling under the weather. The soup had tomato chunks and was served with Italian herbs and accompanied with a thin artisan bread with a crunch. This was the perfect autumnal dish, almost like a hug from the inside.
My guest went for the king rawn, galia and charantais melon (pak choi, cucumber and daikon ribbons, sweet and sour chilli dressing) salad which was a light, refreshing dish served cold. The slight saltiness of the soft prawns was balanced by the sweetness of the fresh melon and the chilli dressing drizzled over it topped it off perfectly.
For the main event, from the menu I went for the ostrich steak with biltong crust (buttered greens and triple cooked chips). Thought I would live a little! The ostrich was I would say a texture between chicken and a beef steak, this was topped with breadcrumbs and I could detect a slight taste of possibly mustard seed but it wasn't too overbearing (I'm not a mustard fan). It had good flavour but I don't think I would order it regularly.
The ostrich was served with fresh vegetables (French beans, broccoli and vegetables) and thick cut fries on the side which were soft and golden, this all felt like the perfect amount of food. I also chose the foie gras sauce which I poured over my dish which was delicious.
My guest got stuck into the 28 day aged British beef from the Surrey Hill 225g rib-eye steak (natural pasture glazing, hand-selected and aged on the bone served with triple cooked chips, baby watercress and confit vine tomatoes) which she said was truly succulent, cooked to perfection (served medium rare) and full of grilled flavour. She also quipped that it was one of the better steaks she has ever had so she was very satisfied with her steak main which was also served with a watercress and tomato salad and triple cooked chips (chunky chips to you and me).
Again I went for a heavy warming option for my dessert, the sticky toffee pudding (Sharrow Bay style & salted butterscotch) is usually served with vanilla ice cream however the kitchen kindly served it with sorbet for me (winning!). The pudding is almost a muffin shape coated in the sweet sticky syrup, the heated cake texture and sweetness is balanced by the sorbet (or ice cream) and was a filling and scrumptious dessert.
My guest being a big cheesecake fan, naturally wanted to sample the New York vanilla cheesecake (baked, Philadelphia cheese, blueberry sauce, creme de mure). The cheesecake had a firm crunchy crumbly base and the topping had a full and thick creamy texture with a sweet fruity blueberry coulis laying beneath it. This serving was a generous size.
The quality of food (and of course, wine) was consistently good and they had lots of interesting options on their menu including sea bass, wagyu sirloin, crocodile burger and Welsh lamb cutlets.
Could I afford to dine here again?
Our meal cost approximately £35 each based on two sharing (not including drinks). This works out as great value for money for the high quality of food we consumed.
The staff at Vivat Bacchus were friendly, polite, attentive and accommodating and our meals (and wine) were of high quality. I can imagine this restaurant is one that has regulars and it's easy to see why, especially due to its location very close to the city workers. I will certainly keep it in mind for when I am in the area.