"Lunch with pin stripped suits accompanied by very loud voices"Review Rating: Reviewed by KimT
One of my exes was a chef and a serious food critic in a former life and he decided to drag me here for a relaxed weekday lunch to check it out…
Luckily, I was working in Holborn that day so it wasn’t too hard to find the place although it is not the sort of place you might pass by accidentally, and not the best location if you were to leave late at night. The entrance isn’t exciting either – but then they aren’t trying to attract passing trade, but serious (or aspirational) foodies who will travel to the ends of the earth for special food.
There is a set lunch for £15.50 but the choice is limited (for example, only two starter choices - asparagus soup or proscuitto, rocket and artichoke salad – and mains of seared tuna or grilled leg of lamb) so nothing took my fancy there. Although positioned as Modern European there are influences from all over the world (technical term is “fusion”, my term is “all mixed up”) – with fennel soup, foie gras terrine, crocodile spring rolls (yes, crocodile!), Shetland scallops etc as starters (between £5.50 to £12) and main courses (generally £14.50 to £18.50) mostly steak oriented although there is thai curry, breaded chicken supreme (!) and springbok (not for the rugby players that one!).
Call me a philistine but the food didn’t knock me out. My ex seemed to like it ok (and I guess he should know!) but was in rapture over the cheese cellar and wine cellars with literally thousands of choices (you have to go and pick what you want – which is great if you like that sort of thing but rather intimidating if you are not sure what you are supposed to get excited about) although all that getting up and down added a rather different dimension to proceedings.
I like the sort of dark, cellar décor there. What was less pleasant was the closely packed rather functional tables and chairs which, when I was there, were full of pin stripped suits with very loud voices.
Like I say, I was there at a lunch time so I can’t comment on what it’s like in the evening. But if you have someone you want to impress with fine wines and food then it would be a good bet and marginally cheaper (and certainly easier to book) than some of the “special” restaurants in the City.
There is a “new” wine bar and deli which I haven’t tried – I guess following the Club/Cellar Gascon model – and I would be interested to hear anyone’s views on that…
KimT reviewed Vivat Bacchus on Fri 25 Jul 2008