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4 Hays Lane
London Bridge commuters can fortify themselves for the journey home at this wine bar/restaurant just yards from the station. With two-dozen tipples by the glass, there's plenty to wet the whistle,
although it's a shame not to delve into the full list. South Africa features heavily (it's where VB's owners are from), although most wine-producing countries get a look-in. A full menu is
available in both the ground-floor bar and basement dining room, so try your luck with chicken Caesar salad or wild-boar terrine followed by a springbok burger, braised osso bucco with gremolata or
red gurnard with warm ratatouille. Otherwise, ‘world platters' and charcuterie provide a convivial accompaniment to drinks. Even if you're only dropping by for a quick glass, be sure to visit the
basement wine cellar and cheese room.
Best Restaurants for Cheese in London
From: 01 November 2018
To: 22 December 2018
From: 04 September 2018
From: 06 July 2018
To: 06 July 2020
From: 16 June 2018
To: 16 July 2030
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4 Hays Lane
020 7234 0891
London Bridge Tube Station 123m
London Bridge Station 312m
London Dungeon 89m
Britain at War Experience 105m
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Bacchus, according to Wikipedia, is the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, ritual madness and fertility. That’s a lot to expect from a restaurant. Fortunately, Vivat delivered on the former part of the description and there has been no sign of imminent madness yet, despite the alcohol consumed. A recent visit on a weekday lunchtime was a clear success and that almost every table in the place was taken constitutes a strong endorsement of a proven formula. Although, as the name would suggest, the place focuses on wine, the food certainly is not an after-thought. After an initial mix-up over sherry (our server brought us a sweet Pedro Ximinez as an aperitif and seemed thoroughly confused that such a thing as a dry Fino might even exist; perhaps more training required…), the wine list certainly impressed. We enjoyed an excellent bin-end Bonny Doon wine from California, 2007 vintage. This was chosen from a wide selection, taking in not just the predictable (Bordeaux, and also South Africa – from where the restaurant group hails), but also good, enterprising winemakers from the new world (America, Australia, New Zealand in particular). The inevitable pairing for such a wine was with steak, but for those seeking something different, the menu offers a range of sensibly priced mains spread across other meat dishes, burgers and also some lighter options such as salads. The artichoke soup with which I began was a good choice, creamy and flavoursome yet not too filling. The steak was by no means the best I had ever had, but certainly above-average. Service was efficient and reasonably friendly, and for diners after interesting wines with decent food in the London Bridge or Farringdon area, this is a good option. Vivat Bacchus also offers an exciting range of cheeses, although time did not permit on this occasion to sample them.
Food + drink: 2
The slogan for this restaurant is ‘because life is too short to drink bad wine’ , I would change that slightly to say ‘life is too short to wait for cheese’ !
Upon arrival at the restaurant as one of the first evening guests at 6.30pm on a Tuesday evening I was shown to a table which was a little small but clearly allowed for more diners. Therefore, the tables were a little bunched and it was easy to be part of someone else's conversation because of the proximity.
The reception staff were perfunctory and the first waiter of the evening had no smile other than a mechanical ‘any drinks?’ When visiting a new restaurant you look for smiles and, whilst you appreciate that the restaurant makes its money on alcohol, it would be pleasant not to have this pointed out to you from the moment you sit down. A polite ‘would you like a dink sir’ would have been a little less austere !
The salad starter was adequate but the inability to offer me the fish off the bone meant having to chose another dish. Why the chef would not take the fish off the bone was answered with ‘ it could not be done.’
For desert, because of all the publicity in the restaurant and on their website about their cheese room, both my guest and I ordered cheese. We eagerly awaited our trip to the cheese room to make our choices … but this never came about. We were told that the cheese room was very busy and that the cheese selection would be brought to our table. We had chosen a bottle of red wine on the basis of our cheese platter. After 15 minutes I enquired about the cheese, after 25 minutes I enquired a second time to be told again it was very busy in the cheese room. After 38 minutes and still no cheese of any sort arriving, I asked for the bill and left the restaurant.
This was a great disappointment because the restaurant promotes its cheese selection and almost challenges you to include the cheese plate in your meal.
What I did not tell the waiters was that I visited the gents during this 38 minutes waiting saga and saw very little activity in the cheese room en route ! Whatever the problem that evening, nobody should ever be expected to wait that long for a course, having chosen the wine with expectation of eating the cheese.
The flamboyant nature of the ‘city’ diners causes such a hubbub within the restaurant that there is an overly heightened sense of noise and excitement, as though everything is over stretched for the staff. Take away the deafeningly noisy tittle tattle of the City diners and concentrate on what was actually happening, and it was clear there were enough staff to service the tables … so what happened to my cheese platter ?
I have always believed that a fine cheese selection is a mark of an affluent restaurant. Cheese is such an expensive commodity and so perishable that only a well heeled restaurant can stock a large selection each and every day. It was this enticement to indulge in cheese to my hearts delight that brought me to the restaurant in the first place. Oh what a disappointment.
I do not live locally, I live North of the river and made a long journey from near the end of the Northern Line to London Bridge to sample the cheese … that'll teach me to venture south of the river !!
A beautiful setting for an indoor picnic.
Excellent and very friendly service.
The ability to mix Tapas (including pork pies!) with excellent main courses makes for a varied feast.
The ability to “play” in their cheese room and wine cellar most pleasing.
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5 Course Club Carnivore Christmas Feast 2018
Christmas Menu 2 2018
Christmas Menu 1 2018
20% off all cheese from our cheeseroom on Fridays and Saturdays
Fizz Friday and Saturday! Get £10 off any bottle of Graham Beck bubbly for only £25 (was £35)
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