5th October 2016 6pm
Dark woods and candlelit tables in a French bistro style, Bon Vivant is a popular venue, demonstrated by the number of people in on an early Wednesday evening. The Bon Vivant has a selection of bites (3 make up a starter size dish but useful if you just want a mouthful or two instead of a full starter), starters, mains and desserts. I went for three bites; black haggis, crispy squid and crab cocktail, followed by venison. My dining companion went for the chorizo in cider from the starters (a choice I had been eyeing up myself) followed by gnocchi. We also opted for some garlic chips on the side to share.
When the first course arrived, it was nice to see that my bites were all presented on one plate. All the bites were very cute. I first went for the squid. This was really good, not chewy but full of flavour. The accompanying squid ink aioli had a sweetness to it which elevated the bite. I then moved onto the crab cocktail. The crab was light and fluffy, topped with some crunchy olive crumb. Underneath was a soft avocado mousse. I often find avocado bland but not in this. Finally I ate the black haggis, which was topped with apple, raisin and pickled cauliflower. This was delicious. The toppings cut through the richness of the haggis, which made it feel surprisingly light. On the other side of the table I still managed to be jealous of the little cup of chorizo. There was a really generous portion of the chorizo, sliced up. Two chunky pieces of garlic bread were also deemed wonderful. The only downside was that the cup the chorizo was placed in limited dunking options for the bread in the cider/chorizo juices.
Whilst waiting for the mains, we did have to chase a glass of wine we ordered but the staff were highly apologetic and fixed it immediately. The level of customers in the place meant that this was easily forgiven. The mains followed soon after and both looked stunning. The venison was divine. The meat was cooked perfectly and was soft and full of depth of flavour. The accompanying celeriac puree, along with the chanterelle mushrooms and blackberries really set the dish off. I don’t think I have had a better venison dish. Truly exquisite. My friend was also raving about her gnocchi. The taste was excellent, particularly in the sauce, with pesto and truffle. The broccoli was cooked well and complimented the rest of the dish. We both loved the garlic chips. I love garlic and these chips certainly embraced the flavour. Powerful but yummy.
We had a look at the dessert menu and we were pleased to see not only were there ice cream and sorbet options for those who have already stuffed their faces, there were also small options of both, allowing for just one scoop – perfect for us. I went for rhubarb sorbet and my friend when for raspberry ice cream. These were both lovely and had good strength of flavour. They also came with a biscuit which was tasty.
We loved our time at Bon Vivant and both went home very happy.
Food – 9.5/10
Service – 9/10
Value – 9/10
Overall – 36.5/40
Would I eat here again? You won’t be able to stop me!
Cost – £64 for two sets of three courses and a glass of wine