If Tripadvisor gave us just one opportunity to give an extra star, I'd give it to Vivat Bacchus. I love the concept: a relaxed bar/restaurant area with top quality food and wine, at reasonable prices. You can pop in for a quick drink and some snacks, or choose one of a range of sharing plates, or push the boat out and work your way through an interesting and very well-executed menu with some top range wines. They have an expert team behind the wines and cheeses, with plenty of suggestions for the indecisive, but they also welcome you going off-piste and visiting the cheese room to select your own cheeseboard, or exploring their cellars. You feel that this place is a real labour of love - the staff are keen to please, and are clearly encouraged to learn their trade and expand their knowledge. This is especially noticeable if you're a regular at their wine events, where staff co-host the events with visitors from the wine trade, often from the featured vineyards. I've seen trainees and junior staff gain confidence and grow, which to me is a sign of a business that's giving something back to its staff.
The owner, Gerrie, is South African, so there's an influence from that part of the world, with the occasional mini South African Wine festival (get on their mailing list - it's amazing value!). So you get some interesting dishes like Springbok burger, as well as dishes from other parts of the world, and good versions of comfort food like their lunchtime pies and triple cooked chips. They partner with British producers like Aubrey Allen, who provide some of their beef and who've attended wine club events (which, btw, are really good value and great entertainment - again, it's worth getting on the mailing list).
I've only visited once on a Friday night when they have live jazz - the place was buzzing so I'd recommend booking if you want to be near to the music. In the past I found that service could be slow when they're really busy, but they seem to have done something about that and it's improved greatly.
My friends from further away are always keen to visit, which is a good sign given the huge amount of choice in London.
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