"VIVI is definitely one to add to your must-eat list"Review Rating: Reviewed by Laurel
The revival of Centre Point has long been the subject of much speculation with regards to what it’s new food & beverage offering would be and it’s safe to say the opening of VIVI earlier this year was hotly anticipated. The all-day dining hub threw open it’s rather glamorous doors in March to much fanfare, bring a touch of sixties-inspired class to the West End. More than just a name, VIVI is also a nod to 1966, the year Centre Point was born, and this is one location that I feel might see its fair share of action in the coming months.
The space is nothing short of stunning. Straddling St Giles Square on one side and New Oxford Street on the other, the restaurant is drenched in light and cleverly split into four zones, each of which is beautifully designed in an Instagram-friendly art deco palette of pink and blush tones with accents of navy velvet, brushed gold and wooden panelling. It’s some serious interiors porn. The Dining Room features a statement chandelier designed and hand built by Vibeke Fonnesberg Schmidt specifically for the space, the plexiglass chandelier - adorned with brass fittings - mimics the popular 60s children’s construction toy, ‘PlayPlax’, and is reminiscent of 1960s Italian design, French Art Nouveau and German Bauhaus modernism.
The restaurant’s glamorous elliptical bar is bedecked with metallic tiling and a striking gold top, custom built to catch the light which floods in through the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows by day; while subtle reflective spotlights create an intimate and sophisticated atmosphere during the evening. Plus with a rather dazzling cocktail menu it’s easy to whip away an evening there without even dining, though really you should.
Head Chef Arnaud Delannay’s signature dishes focus on bold flavours and fresh seasonal ingredients, and feature twists on the old classics such as Keen’s twice baked cheddar soufflé; Chicken Kiev and mash; Lobster Thermidor and Duck à l’orange. Desserts go retro – think Black Forest gateaux; sherry trifle; apple and rhubarb crumble. It’s a retro menu befitting of the era of the building, but created with the finest ingredients and attention to detail.
We visited for lunch on a Sunday and settled into one of the irresistible baby pink pleather booths overlooking St Giles Square, flooded with light from the floor to ceiling windows and the site of many a photoshoot throughout the course of our meal; we spotted at least two ‘influencers’ (*ahem*) trotting down the steps in a perfectly colour co-ordinated outfit, photographer in tow, with one of VIVI Bar’s spectacularly decadent cocktails in hand, ready to pose up a storm and then leave again, not to mention the gaggle of girls who insisted on taking it in turns to sit on the bar for photos.
We started with the Cornish crab with crushed avocado and slivers of crisp, juicy Granny Smith apple; a refreshing mouthful of summer accompanied by some fresh, warm, crispy bread and lashings of butter. The chicken Kiev, retro dining at its finest, was presented doused in superbly crispy almost Panko-style breadcrumbs. An almost impossibly juicy breast served with minted peas and crushed Jersey Royals, it took me straight back to childhood suppers, though an ever so slightly more sophisticated version of. Across the table, my friend’s Sunday roast was met with much approval, slices of perfectly cooked beef and plentiful accompanying veg. Dessert wasn’t strictly necessary after such a feast, yet an apple and plum crumble with creme fraiche ice cream and custard went down a treat; another comforting dish that nailed the nostalgic dining.
We accompanied our lunch with a tipple from the rather spectacular cocktail menu, with each drink inspired by the music and history of the VIVI era, such as the Wild Honey on the Beach (Bulleit Rye whiskey, Pimento Dram, lemon thyme infused honey, lemon), a homage to The Beach Boys, and The Weeping Guitar (Gin Mare, Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, cucumber, elderflower, lime, tonic water), a toast to The Beatles. We both plumped for the rather special Seifert, a delectable concoction of Brockmans Gin, rosebud syrup, pink grapefruit and lime inspired by Centre Point’s architect Richard Seifert. Worth noting though that it’s rather sweet, so perhaps better to accompany dessert than a chicken kiev.
With two beautiful semi-private dining spaces, separated from the main restaurant by stylish copper chain mail curtains and complete with statement low-hanging lighting, VIVI is certainly a space worth noting if a special occasion calls, something that was clearly utilised on the day we visited; the place was buzzing. With such a vibrant cocktail list, a stunning design and a menu that stands up to the test of time, VIVI is definitely one to add to your must-eat list this summer.
Laurel reviewed VIVI Restaurant & Bar on Tue 04 Jun 2019