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Squaremeal Review of Bon Vivant ?

This all-day French is at risk of being all mouth and no trousers, by playing up to a (slightly unconvincing) sexy persona in a rather unsexy part of town. The winding dining room is a hotpotch of shapes, colours and textures, with an exposed brick here and a depiction of a mid-coitus couple there – it’s all a bit disorientating, so we recommend asking for one of the glam blue velvet booths. The day starts with pastries, tarts and juices, followed by Gallic classics and bottomless ‘drunch’ (with several boozy options) at lunch, before dinner brings larger portions and daily specials. On our visit, the special was a gutsy raclette which would suffice as a main, while stuffed chicken with a butternut squash purée was carefully cooked for maximum juiciness, and well-matched with tender Romanesco broccoli. We found the fresh truffle tagliatelle and a chocolate sponge dessert to be good value and adequate, although nothing to get hot and bothered over. The choice wine list is almost exclusively French and won’t break the bank, while a vivacious cocktail menu manages to cover most tastes. Bon Vivant isn’t a bonkbuster, but if you’re in the area it’s stimulating value.  

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