On the corner of Farringdon road and Charterhouse – a corner of London that recently housed the Fabric nightclub – we find the Vivat Bacchus – Farringdon location.
An unassuming sandstone building houses this eatery with an interior décor of warehouse-chic – girders, exposed ducting, dark wood & brick – all make for a nice edgy ambience. While it was a little noisy – it had a good buzz as early as 6pm.
Positioning itself as an unapologetic haven for meat, wine fans, it also boasts a refrigerated cheese room with contents on display. I asked for a quick tour of this before dinner and was delighted to find several long-time favourites from Spain and France plus – bonus – a precious store of Testun Barolo – a rarely found and long-time favourite Italian.
My guide was knowledgeable and friendly so I asked how they get the cold product to the customers table so it is at room temperature – the cheese room itself being chilly. You need to ask – he told me. Good answer.
The menu was clear and well designed – Crocodile, Ostrich, Biltong and Surrey Hills beef all caught my eye but I settled for the Wagyu Sirloin advertised as “Arguably the best beef in the world…” – this preceded by the VB superfood salad. On the menu it says “If it swims it slims” and my companion opted for the King Prawn / Melon salad with Swordfish to follow and a glass of house Chablis. As a precaution I asked at this point for small portions of two cheeses – the Epoisses and the Testun Barolo – to be cut and set outside the cheese room to warm up. The waitress was a little surprised but took it in stride.
The wine list was impressive and extensive running to almost a dozen pages – most decently priced.
Service was swift and accurate delivered by staff who were friendly and helpful. In a few moments the superfood salad – a decent helping which included wilted Spinach, Quinoa, Goji and Pomegranate arrived – things were looking up. But the dressing was a little insipid – be bold I thought – this deserves a super-dressing too. Across the table the prawn salad was a little light on prawn but tasty enough and a good size.
My sirloin – which I ordered medium rare – also arrived promptly. Timely service is clearly well-practiced here. The steak came with my choice of Béarnaise dressing, grilled plum tomatoes and a small bowl of chips. Cooked just right – this steak was delicious. It was also “arguably” the best steak – but at 180g before cooking – sadly it did not last long enough for a good argument.
My companion noted that the swordfish mouthed well and was not leathery but a little creamy with real flavour – unusual for a London restaurant. And it went perfectly with the house wine which was good and very reasonably priced. He runs a business in the heart of the City and often dines out nearby so I asked “would you take your colleagues here for a celebration dinner?” After a look around he replied “Yes – it’s exactly where I would take them”. Enough said.
Overall Vivat left a favourable impression and delivered the goods. As an upper-end city eatery with good transport links nearby, a good buzz, good menu, plenty of wine and great cheese it rates high on this London bloggers list.
Food as advertised 4.5 / 5
Overall 4/5 pretty close to Excellent.