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Vivat Bacchus

Restaurants, Contemporary European Borough and London Bridge
4 out of 5 stars
(8user reviews)
© Michelle Grant

Time Out says

In a bland modern development off Tooley Street, this branch of the South African-owned mini-group sticks to a winning formula, with a basement restaurant complementing the deli counters upstairs. Although there’s wine-themed decoration in the form of posters and crates, the climate-controlled cheese and wine rooms provide the most attractive element of the design.

The list pays attention to all the classic French regions (Champagne is particularly well represented) but it’s difficult to avoid drifting back to the outstanding selection of South African wines. Some mark-ups are minimal - barely higher than the retail price - while others are fairly steep but not outrageous by London standards. There is a decent selection by the glass.

The menu is international in scope with an emphasis on French and Italian cooking, but makes a special feature of dishes from the grill, including Pata Negra pork chops and a côte de boeuf for two people. The bar has a simple menu of cold dishes, especially platters of charcuterie.



Address: 4 Hays Lane
Transport: Tube: London Bridge
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Users say (8)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
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1 of 1 found helpful

My girlfriend took me along to a blind cheese and wine tasting and trivia event here and it was a lot of fun (albeit quite difficult trivia). They hold it monthly and the team that performs the best in the season wins a prize. It is an event more for wine buffs but I really did enjoy it and did learn a few things here and there so it’s a great activity to get a bunch of friends together and wind up some competitive spirit.

What we had:

  • Club Carnivore feast:VB Surrey Hills burger, 300g sirloin steak, lamb gigot steak & triple cooked chips
  • Italian Board: Prosciutto di San Daniele DOP, air cured bresaola, Milano salami, capicola, marinated olives
  • South African Board: Traditional, ostrich & chilli biltong, ‘stokkies’, traditional droë wors, biltong & goats cheese straws

All the food here was quite good - the meat was tender and juicy and you can never go wrong with South African biltong and Italian cold cuts. The wine list is obviously very extensive and the host is more than happy to help guide you and offer a great suggestion for a bottle of wine.

Tip: They offer a whole number of different events and have quite a lot of roots and contacts with South African winemakers and thus can recommend a very good bottle of South African wine, amongst others.

Good For: small groups, date night drinks, casual drinks, catch up with friends

Amazing steak, a Cheese Room, a Wine Cellar and live music, what more could you possibly want from a restaurant? It is a payday meal but if i had the money I would go to Vivat Baccus every week. Me and my boyfriend shared the Chateaubriand and it was cooked to perfection. My favourite part though was being taken into their cheese room with a cheese enthusiast whilst tasting and picking out the cheeses for your cheeseboard dessert. There were all the types of cheese you could dream of. Whats better is once its been boarded up for you there is pairings such as honey, nuts, different types of fruit to go with your variety of cheeses. Vivat Baccus is the ultimate date night restaurant. 

I am in absolute awe of this cheesy haven. If you have the cash then this is a very classy and exciting place to try some amazing cheese. 

The staff were extremely attentive and remembered that I had said I was gluten free when I booked this lunch over a month ago; they came rushing over with an allergen chart and told me that there were gluten free crackers to accompany the cheese. This is the first time in my life I haven't had to ask for the allergen chart or express the seriousness of coeliac disease to the judging waiters- it is for this reason that they have gained my full appreciation and five stars. 

Furthermore we got to go into their very own cheese room and taste the cheeses to decide which ones we wanted to put on our cheese board. The man showing us the cheeses had an excellent knowledge of each one and could recite a history of each as well as recommending what to have with them. We felt at ease and confident that he would know what was best and picked 3 favorites and let him create the rest. My word, we were right to put our faith in this man as the board was excellent, lavish and full of tantalizingly tasty treats.

Accompanied with sparkling rose this was the perfect celebratory lunch for my 21st birthday and I honestly cannot find a fault in this place or the food.

It's funny - I was told this place was a meat specialist... but actually it does lots of good cheese and wine, and lots of very average meat! It's pretty expensive for what it is, so if you go, bear that in mind, save your pennies on the steak and stock up on the cheese! 

Fancy live Jazz, cheese and wine? This place offers a great selection of cheeses from their cheese room, fantastic wines from France, the UK and South Africa. It's restaurant menu is equally interesting. The space upstairs offers great ambiance and the live Jazz nights make it special. The restaurant is somewhat narrow and can feel cramped when busy. Our cheese platter was amazing, with one very smelly cheese which made me gag but tasted great. Friendly efficient service and a wine lovers Mecca.

I saw some bad reviews about service, ours however was quite pleasant and young lady who lead the testing was helpful and explained quite a lot about each wine, history, location and the way this particular wine has been prepared (turns out there is a difference and different wines could be produced from same grapes which is fascinating)

First impression of the restaurant was nice. Seems a little bit cramped inside though which means it got quite noisy as it filled up. Our waitress was pleasant and very friendly. I felt like having a milkshake due to the heat but there weren't any on the list so i asked her and she said they weren't available but said that maybe she can find out if they can make me a don pedro but without the alcohol which would in effect be a vanilla milkshake so i said sure to which she came back confirming so all good.. One of our party had the smoked salmon salad starter and could barely find any salmon in there. Literally 4 or 5 tiny slivers of salmon where your nail clippings would be bigger.. Pretty expensive £7.50 salmon starter.. Main course came and i had the BBQ platter which was quite nice apart from the baby chicken which was very dried out and not pleasant to eat at all. One of our friends had the springbok burger and after eating part of it, he found a long LONG hair actually INSIDE the burger. Not with the garnish or anything, actually part of the burger patty itself! He sent that back with the waitress apologising and another one came which was fine. Towards the end of his meal the manager came over with a quick "Sorry about the issue" and then walked off?! Not too much of a sincere apology to be honest.. Hygiene in a restaurant and customer service are nothing to compromise on. Its not like he wanted anything for free but after that, even if the manager offers to buy him a drink or something with more of a sincere apology, but he just didn't really care. Then when the bill came and we started going through it, I found that i was charged the full price for the don pedro / milkshake which turned out to be £8.75! For a vanilla milkshake! So no, definitely will not be walking through those doors ever again after that experience thats for sure.

On Timeout's recommendation we decided to come here for lunch. We opted for the braaivleis grill (South African Barbecue) as we thought it would be nice to sample a good braai from outside the family. The grill boasted chicken wings, steak, boerewors, chips and coleslaw so we sat with Windhoeks in hand and anticipated the feast to come. Before I get to the food I should say something of the restaurant itself: very unassuming, stripped-back interior, more reminiscent of a wine-bar than a traditional restaurant. This turned out to be appropriate when the wine list arrived; the selection is large and very fine but a little on the pricey side, to my eye. The service was quick, the waiters were friendly and open to banter and the atmosphere was lively as the offices of London Bridge had crammed the place for lunch. A promising sign by any stretch of the imagination. What arrived was largely a disappointment, the chicken was cooked well but left no impression on the taste-buds whatsoever. The chips amounted to one large potato, thin-cut and dusted with salt, again well cooked but, again, utterly forgettable. The coleslaw was flavoursome but the measure of a good braai is in the wors and the steak. Unfortunately this is where things went very wrong, very quickly. On our platter, instead of Boerewors, was a Walls'™ sausage. It was a well cooked, brown on the outside, beige on the inside, pork, Walls'™ sausage. I was heartbroken, I have all the time in the world for an honest British banger, but you never promise me wors and provide Walls'™. To the uninitiated, boerewors is a beef sausage originally devised by Afrikaaner farmers in South Africa to make tougher cuts of meat more palatable. Rather than the traditional short links of sausage that characterise a banger a boerewors resembles a very large cumberland sausage-one long coil of ground meat which is well spiced. A good slice of wors in a bun is a pleasure for the senses and a friend of the family has complained that he has never been able to really enjoy another barbecued sausage after trying my Dad's home-made wors. Things looked bad, but having read this far you may be wondering how good the steak was to save a three-star rating for Vivat Bacchus. It was exquisite. A quick warning to the picky, it is served very rare as that best compliments the seasoning and produces an exceedingly succulent experience. I would use every appropriate superlative in my vocabulary to describe this steak, but I’ve already spent 70 words on it so I will end here by saying today I heard Dame Jane Goodall imitate the greeting of a wild chimpanzee and this steak came a close third in memorable experiences, just after graduating. We rounded off the meal with Milk Tart and a Fig tarte fine with ice cream. Both were extremely enjoyable and I would recommend either.

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