Vivat Bacchus specialise in South African-inspired cuisine and since I’ve been residing in London for 7 years it’s quite the scandal I have never come across such a cool, diverse menu. Now that winter has truly hit I couldn’t think of a better evening spent than with meat, cheese and wine. I was keen to explore their newer digs (they have a venue in London Bridge also) so grabbed a friend and headed to Farringdon.
As we walked in we were greeted by a friendly host who took our big winter coats and showed us our cosy table. The décor was super cool, exposed bricks, urban wood tables and an open kitchen and bar area. It was midweek and the place was almost full which created a buzzy atmosphere and relaxed feel.
We were recommended a few glasses of Spanish Rioja which would complement the meat feast we were about to embark on.
Some mixed chilli olives were whisked over to graze on while we scoured the menu. As the rule of thumb is share, share and share some more, we got down to negotiating which starters to get. I could have easily had 10.
First up the sautéed forest mushrooms piled high on toasted crusty sourdough toast. Breakfast, lunch or dinner you simply can’t not enjoy a perfect poached duck egg – yolk porn at its finest. I enjoy strong flavours so the garlic and truffle double whammy was amazing for me.
The Burrata di Puglia was laid down looking Instagram ready, presented on a trendy slate platter. The milky mozzarella was like silk on crunchy baby crostini bed. We added beautifully sliced salty serrano ham. You could see it had been freshly cut, not a dry edge in sight. I scrunched the ham into little balls which was followed by an intense explosion in my mouth.
We had a quick pit stop to check out their famous cheese room. Yes you read correctly, a whole room dedicated to tasting, choosing and building your perfect cheese platter. There was a pro on hand walking people through the 40 types they have in house, along with pickles and chutneys to add. This was the dream for any cheese lover including myself.
Back to our table and mains shortly followed. My friend can’t resist a steak so she was giddy at the fact wagyu sirloin was on the menu. Well known for its calibre among the cuts of beef, at Vivat Bacchus it was no exception. You could see its tenderness with each slice. Of course I had a taste for descriptive purposes and I can confirm it had a superior flavour.
I had to go for the ostrich steak – when in Rome, and all that. Something I had never even seen on a menu never mind tried, I was excited to see how it would look and obviously taste. To my joy there was no fat at all, just pure dense meat. The biltong crust was a fantastic tasty addition, it gave it a salty crunch and moreish aftertaste. I later found out it’s much leaner than beef, which compensated for the extra triple-cooked chips and the incredible desserts that later came our way.
Every good steak deserves a creamy béarnaise sauce. We were given a huge pot enough to share which I couldn’t get enough of. We added a side of fresh rocket and parmesan.
After a short wine break it was dessert time. We cracked in to the sugary topping of our gorgeous crème brûlée pot to find chunks of sweet apricot. The vanilla custard was just delicious causing a spoon war between us.
Our server was keen for us to try the textura valrhona. I had no idea what that meant but I did hear the words molten white chocolate which had me sold. Hot white chocolate was poured over the coco dome causing it to melt into a tasty pool. There was caramel, thyme and crushed hazelnuts in the centre. Not just a fun novelty but a ruddy good pud.
We had a fab evening at Vivat Bacchus. They hit the mark with top quality dishes, swift seamless service and cool surroundings. Their knowledge of the menu, cheese and wine is impressive. If you don’t shortly find me tucking into another ostrich steak I’ll of course be in the cheese room.
Vivat Bacchus – Farringdon
47 Farringdon St, London, EC4A 4LL