Live like a bon vivant at, erm, Bon Vivant, King’s Cross

23 Mar 2018

Doesn’t walking in from the cold feel about as graceful as falling out of a helicopter? The transition from element battling facial expression and body hunch to ‘hello darling I’ve arrived’ never goes smoothly.

Luckily, Bon Vivant was empty on the drizzly February evening when I chucked myself through the door, umbrella in hand and weighed down by fifteen layers, like some kind of confused Alpine hiker-slash-Buckeroo.

I can only imagine the lack of bodies was because no one wants to eat dinner at 6 o’clock on a Sunday evening. Well, apart from me that is.

I sat at a circular table much bigger than I needed, waiting for my plus one to arrive and the restaurant to fill up with other diners – oh please God of atmosphere, please.

If you can’t tell from its name ‘Bon Vivant’ is French, so I did my duty and ordered a glass of terrific red wine, the 2013 Cave Terra Ventou to be exact (£7.50).

A ‘bon vivant’ is someone who devotes themselves to a sociable and luxurious lifestyle. Looking around you can see the latter, and one year on from opening, it’s as good as new. The soft furnishings are feminine and elegant in dark, rich hues, complemented by pops of pink, brass and greenery. It’s a Pinterest board of interior dreams materialised.

Keeping myself busy, I toyed with the idea of ordering snails, but my ‘try anything once’ attitude had been left at home this evening, so the French bread and butter started the meal off instead. It only took a stretch the Dalai Lama would have envied to retrieve it from the other side of the table. You don’t often get spoiled for space in London, it felt like heaven.

A note to all: don’t invite a vegan to a French restaurant, or someone on a diet. Everything is creamy, buttery and rich. When ordering the meals the vegan in question (who had arrived by now) struggled and opted for the Superfood salad (£9.50) from the starter menu and some waitress-recommended truffle mashed potato (£4) since none of the mains would comply with the ‘did it not nice have a pulse?’ criteria.

Not the most classic of combos: Green Leaf Salad and mash, but it all goes to the same place and the pot of mayonnaise it was served with can be left on the side.

The Tagliatelles aux truffes (£15) was a humongous mound of pale yellow laces knotted together and decorated with pieces of shaved truffle.  It was heavy, it was rich, it was salty, and the truffle flavour was magical, hitting you like a wall. For a Sunday it was justifiable, but as a self proclaimed midweek carb-swerver, it would not have done any other day of the week.

Bon Vivant can definitely churn out some great food, and with the difficult dietary requests I don’t feel like we gave it a good enough run. Their Instagrammable look is definitely in keeping with the times and I’d love to come back when the menu does the same.


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