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Typically I was early; dusty, hot and ever so slightly damp for it was a fine, sunny day in old London town. Nothing that a cooling glass of Paul Cluver Sauvignon Blanc (£5.50) and an underarm squirt of Lynx wouldn’t correct.

Despite a forceful hunger a decision to wait for the others rather than plough on into the menu seemed more gentlemanly. I busied myself with writing notes and wondering what ‘Droë Wors’ were. They are listed on the tapas menu but certainly aint Spanish, that much I do know.

The Sauvignon was fresh and tangy, refreshing with a lingering green-veg edge with a piercing acidity that jolted these tired old tastebuds to life.

I find the Droë Wors forming part of the South African Platter selection – spiced, cured and air dried pork and beef sausages. So know I know. The platter also includes Springbok Fricadels, Mrs Balls Chutney, Biltong, Drewors Potato Chips (a brand of South African crisp, like the equivalent of serving Quavers I guess), Apricots, Cape Mango and Sweet Pepper. I could blame the low light levels and my tired physique for the poor photographic abilities so display instead two photos taken by Robert McIntosh (he of the Wine Conversation) who soon arrived along with Jeanne (Cooksister) my other ‘dining companion’.

The wine flowed, lightening the atmosphere and a period of engaging conversation ensued. Or rather I talked pure rubbish, Robert steered the conversation to civilised topics (none of which I remember) while Jeanne looked incredulous at my lack of knowledge of South African cuisine. But at last she laughed at my stupid jokes!

While the red wines won approval – a Brampton debate on grape varieties (an omission from the wine list details) caused some consternation when revealed (Mourvèdre-Grenache blend) and a gorgeous concentrated Bilton Shiraz 2003 (£19 half bottle) – it was the dessert wines that stole the day. There was a citrus-acidic fresh Paul Cluver Riesling (all apricots and tart marmalade finish) and a d’Trafford Chenin Blanc 2005 Straw Wine (£19 half bottle) with a meld of pineapple and apricots.

The second photo is of me and Jeanne in the famed Vivat Bacchus cheese room.

I should add that Vivat Bacchus is a South African focused and owned establishment with a grand range of South African wines in addition to a smattering from elsewhere (a fine range of Champagnes too). We sat in the bar area rather than the downstairs main restaurant.

Vivat Bacchus
47 Farringdon St,
Holborn,
London
0207 353 2648

4 Comments »

  1. Robert says:

    Andrew – it was a great treat to meat you at last and wonderful to be introduced to cooksister too.
    To top it off I have the honour of seeing my photos on your site, after all you are the wine photographer par excellence – just lucky I brought my low light lense
    Need to do that again and maybe take notes of those “civilised topics” this time as I don’t recall them either.

  2. Jeanne says:

    It was lovely having dinner with the both of you too – and you are right, the wines did steal the show – that and the charming and knowledgeable service! Btw, the crisps were Simba chips :)

  3. Anna says:

    I haven’t had dinner yet and i am drooling! Living in Bilbao we have ONLY Basque food and Rioja wines, and don’t get me wrong they are really good, but i DO miss having food and wines like you had the past weekend. SA food and wines are my favorite, especially in the right company just as you seemed to have had! BTW Great photos Robert:-)

  4. Mallika says:

    LOVE Vivat Bacchus. I end up there for many busines lunches. The Springbok is highly recommended.

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