Serving up nostaglic British food, Vivi restaurant is in the heart of the West End of London, above Tottenham Court Road underground station. I was invited along last Tuesday with some other bloggers from the Love Pop Ups London community to check Vivi out for dinner. Read on to see what we had at our girls dinner at Vivi:
*Full disclosure, my meal at Vivi was free in exchange for this review, all opinions are my own*
Nostaglic British food at Vivi restaurant London
Vivi is the latest restaurant to open in the newly renovated Centre Point building on New Oxford Street. Situated above the now extended (for Cross Rail) Tottenham Court Road underground station, it’s still in the midst of a building site. Which means that I saw three sides of it before finding the door!
Once I’d located the door I was greeted and went upstairs to the second floor where the Vivi bar and restaurant is located.
Walking in the feel of the space was bright and airy, even at nighttime. The overall Art Deco styling reminded me a little of Skylon in the Royal Festival Hall, overlooking the Thames.
Instead Vivi overlooks the hustle and bustle of New Oxford Street on one side and the newly developed St Giles Square on the other.
There are pink and gold accents in the room and lots of lovely curved features.
We were seated at a round table for 6. There were also banquette tables around the outside of the dining area for smaller groups and a lot of flexible space – tables for two and a sharing high table.
The cocktails are presented spectacularly! In the menu they are all illustrated, so you know exactly what they will look like.
I ordered the Siefert, mainly because someone else had ordered it before me and I loved the look*, but also as it was one of their gin cocktails.
Named after the architect of the original Centre Point, it’s a gin sour made with Brockmans gin, rosebud syrup, pink grapefruit and lime juices. As it comes with the puff of candy floss the waitress suggested you add it to the drink if it was too sour. However with the Brockmans gin, this came cross fruity and sweet, rather than sour. I just snacked on my candy floss as I drank it.
(*I don’t order my cocktails based on Instagram, but if I did, I would order this one!!)
They also have a selection of non-alcoholic cocktails for the non-drinkers, although not all of these went down that well… The Cheeky Mocha with Seedlip and espresso didn’t get finished, however the Pomegranate and Cranberry Fizz fared better.
With my main of roasted Guinea Fowl, I decided to have a glass of wine. They do 5 red and 5 white wines by the glass, starting at £5.5 and going up to £12 for 175ml pours. I chose the Yealands New Zealand Pinot Noir, as a lighter style red that complements the Guinea Fowl’s light meat.
They also have various bubbles by the glass – prosecco and champagne – and a vast selection across all wines by the bottle.
We shared some of the bar nibbles whilst we waited for our table to arrive. The cheese straws were lovely, light and cheesy and very moreish. The nocellera olives were huge plump vivid green olives and the devilled nuts were tasty without being too spicy.
We also had some bread and butter on the table, the cute little loaves not lasting long after everyone had taken pictures!
For my starter I was undecided on what to get until the waitress recommended the crab.
This was Cornish crab presented on top of crushed avocado, with green apples and a devilled vinaigrette. It was fresh and light and a great balance of flavours. I didn’t really tell that the vinaigrette was devilled as such, but everything came together well.
A couple of the other girls had the Twice Baked Souffle, which was a bit of a let down. I didn’t try it, but it didn’t come out looking like a souffle and it seemed the cheesiness was in the sauce not the baked part. It certainly didn’t have any oozey melted middle, which you might expect.
The Jerusalem artichoke soup however was divine! Made with chestnuts in the soup, the flavour was lovely and the texture silky smooth. The addition of the cheese straw as garnish was a nice touch to complement.
The Farmhouse Pate was a little too rustic for Jo though – she wasn’t expecting something with actual lumps of meat in it. The Steak Tartare was more aligned to expectations, with it’s cleverly cooked and reconstructed egg yolk (don’t ask me to explain – it was very complicated!)
I had the roasted Guinea Fowl for my main. I always forget that this isn’t a strong flavoured game bird, but instead has light coloured and tasting meat.
The Guinea Fowl was served with a buttery braised cabbage, pomme Anna (some kind of layered potato) and a lovely masala jus (aka gravy).
The Guinea Fowl portion was quite generous and the skin was perfectly crispy and saved the meat from blandness. The buttery cabbage was to die for!! Whilst the pomme Anna were unmemorable, I used them to mop up the sauce and butter from the cabbage!
Overall I enjoyed this dish, but I wasn’t wowed. I guess they are more aiming for nostalgic comfort food, rather than wow factor?
Of the other mains I saw the pork chop looked like a decent portion also, Jo certainly enjoyed it. The Madras roasted monkfish was praised by Haydy – the right combination of meaty texture and tasty sauce, without being too spicy.
As you may imagine, after that generous main and trying the mac and cheese, I was quite full. In the interests of research I decided to order the rum baba dessert.
The rum baba was tasty and the bottom of it was saturated in white rum! I didn’t manage to fit it all in. The garnishes of vanilla ice cream, confit orange and mint leaves worked really well.
I really enjoyed my meal, everything was presented very well and all of the dishes I tried were tasty and satisfying. I guess that’s probably where they are aiming with the nostaligic British food tag. The dinner did seem a little expensive, however I appreciate that ingredients like crab and guinea fowl are not cheap, so you would expect the dishes to be priced accordingly.
I would love to come back and share Vivi with some friends – perhaps for their brunch or even a pre-theatre dinner. The set menu is priced at £21.50 for two courses or three for £24.50, which is really good value! The weekend brunch can be made bottomless for £17.50 for 2 hours of prosecco and there are a lot of choices for brunch.
See the full menu and book online at Vivi: Traditional British Food London
Thanks to Vivi and Love Pop Ups London for my invite.
Vivi is located underneath Centre Point at Tottenham Court Road underground station, find it here:
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