Low ceilings, dark walls and candlelight might suggest a salubrious, gentlemanly drinking den, but Bon Vivant is a clubby, young-at-heart venue – witness the DJ decks waiting to spin into action at the weekend. The kitchen shrewdly caters for imbibers’ appetites large and small, with ‘bites’ of black pudding and apple jam or carrot and pea bhajis with sweet chilli, plus more filling ‘middles’ ranging from coq au vin or monkfish with chorizo ragoût to 10oz steaks with roast salsify and girolles. Sweets (aka ‘after bites’) can also be taken in dinky or ‘normal’ portions – perhaps pistachio pannacotta or milk chocolate bavarois with strawberry ice cream. A terrific selection of around three-dozen wines by the glass or carafe is supported by Champagnes and a gantry of premium spirits. Ask about Vivant’s regular tasting sessions and also check out the wine shop next door.
The by-the-glass Champagne selection will have many a London sommelier cooing with approval – and turning green with envy at the prices (Roederer at £7 a glass, anyone?). Every listing at this wine bar is available by the glass or carafe, and the presentation is a model of clarity.