RestaurantsLondonCityEC4

survey result

Summary

£60
  £££
3
Good
3
Good
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“There’s no better place to try South African wine – from cheap ’n’ cheerful to exceptional vintages” – than at this duo of SA-owned City wine bars, with walk-in cellars for your deliberation. The Saffa-inspired food is “fairly hearty” (steaks are a good bet), with a shout-out to the “brilliant cheese room” in each venue.

Summary

£60
  £££
3
Good
3
Good
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“There’s no better place to try South African wine – from cheap ’n’ cheerful to exceptional vintages” – than at this duo of SA-owned City wine bars, with walk-in cellars for your deliberation. The Saffa-inspired food is “fairly hearty” (steaks are a good bet), with a shout-out to the “brilliant cheese room” in each venue.

Summary

£60
  £££
3
Good
4
Very Good
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“An eclectic and fascinating cellar, especially the South African options” (perhaps “the best selection of Saffa vintages in town”) “scores alpha plus plus for the wines” at this very popular and “noisy” wine bar duo, and “amazingly knowledgeable and helpful staff” help with your deliberations. Though not the point, “the food is pretty good, too” with steak the top choice.

Summary

£60
  £££
3
Good
4
Very Good
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

A “fantastic range of mainly South African vintages” helps provide the justification for consuming the “perfectly cooked steaks” at this wine bar duo with branches in Farringdon and Bankside. Top Tip – don’t miss the ‘Cheese Room Experience’.

For 30 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).

Have you eaten at Vivat Bacchus?

Restaurant details

Yes
45
No dress code
90

Harden's says...

Vivat Bacchus EC4

Artistry in cooking can be overdone. Sometimes the occasion demands good meat, good wine, good cheese, that's it. This seemed like an appropriate formula for lunch with an old school chum, now head of PR for a large fund managers. Knowing him not to be much of a style victim, I felt relatively relaxed about suggesting this basic-looking, year-old basement opposite the western flank of Smithfield Market.


Visual interest (such as there is) comes from the large, glass-walled wine room in the centre of the space. The place has a reasonable buzz, though, and the atmosphere is boosted by the attitude of the South African owners and staff. Why is such a genuine welcome so unusual?


Had we had more time, I'd have suggested a trip to the wine room. (There are 250 bins, with an obvious emphasis on South Africa). Both needing to work that afternoon, though, we sank a bottle of inexpensive Stellenbosch cabernet/merlot - no great complexity, but very easy to glug.


The food has no great pretensions, but it isn't pricey and some dishes were very good Roast bone marrow was a hearty, enjoyable starter. Guinea fowl with borlotti beans was a robust yet quite healthy-tasting dish, but I wished I'd had my friend's beautifully tender springbok steak.


On to the cheese room, I confidently suggested (already savouring the aromas of over 100 beautifully-conditioned choices) ... only for disaster to strike. My old pal's new firm give him regular health checks and he's now a cholesterol-avoiding sap! Wishing to inflict only modest discomfort on him, I opted for an OK Eton Mess.


We left in good spirits, the venue having done its straightforward job well. Just, if you plan a trip, make sure your guest's not on a health kick first.


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Opening hours

lunch noon - 2.30 pm, dinner 6.30 pm - 9.30 pm
Last orders: 9.30 pm

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