Enjoy a Taste of Authentic South Africa at Vivat Bacchus

With locations in London Bridge and Farringdon, Vivat Bacchus has been serving up authentic South African dishes since 2003. Not just food, but wines also.

On entry, the décor is slightly industrial with towering open ceilings and exposed pipes and ducts. Not to dissimilar from a winery, the space gives way to cheese rooms and fully stocked wine cellars. We knew we were in for a treat!

Naturally, meat is a big feature of the menu, with a whole section available from the Braai. The South African braai is more than just grilling meat; it’s a cultural tradition reflecting the nation’s history, unity, and resilience, celebrated with friends and family. Our gaze was drawn to this speciality cuisine, but in the meantime, back to the starters.

To start, we opted for the Seared Scallops with puree from the baobab tree and artichoke, as well as a biltong crumb. The scallops were perfectly cooked and tasty, the biltong added a nice spicy element. From the baobab, they use the root, which is dried and powdered, giving an acidic balance to the dish. Alongside, we ordered the Burrata which was accompanied with braaied vegetables, smoked tomato dressing and a crispy rice cracker. The range of textures and smokiness, compared with the rich creaminess of the cheese, was stunning.

We couldn’t eat South African food without indulging in a fantastic native red wine too. We went for a Pinotage which was incredibly fruity and well balanced. Very easy to drink alongside the rich meats we were about to tuck into.

For main, it was back to the braai. There was an option to build your own braai board, and with help for the team, we ordered the Ostrich Fillet, Sirloin and Peri Peri Chicken Flattie served with salad and smoked sides. The meat was cooked to perfection, the ostrich a really interesting addition, and the smoked tomato really complemented the smoky taste from the charcoal cooking.

A braai is a South African term for a barbecue or grill, but it represents much more than simply cooking food outdoors. It’s deeply ingrained in South African culture and is a cherished social gathering that brings together friends and family. The word “braai” is Afrikaans in origin and is used to describe both the act of grilling food over an open flame or coals and the event itself. It was incredible to experience such a cultural style of cooking, that really fed into each dish.

To accompany the meats, we went for a range of sauces including Monkey Gland (a fruity South African-style BBQ sauce) and Chakalaka which was a tomato based salsa, each added new and exciting dimensions to the dishes.

Desserts were indulgent and we tucked into a special Cheesecake which was the ideal end to a truly tasty, and relatively heavy, dinner.

It’s clear to see how this cooking style is designed to bring people together, with big and bold flavours. Vivat Bacchus also run a series of events and Supper Clubs. Personally, we like the sound of the regular event Club Carnivore, which is founded on the simple rules… – Red Meat Only – Red Wine Only – Wine served in Magnums or Larger. Count us in!

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