Bringing a little joie de vivre to the area, expect French classics, a list of French grapes and a cheeky cocktail or two at Bon Vivant
Words Hannah Hopkins
Bringing a Gallic touch to Bloomsbury is Bon Vivant, a sexy and stylish new French restaurant. Inspired by owner Charmaine Abomnes’ upbringing, the chic dining spot transports you to Paris with velvet topped bar stools, low lighting and a carefully curated menu of French classics.
Dishes come courtesy of Head Chef Oliver Kuehler (formerly of Les Deux Salons) and cover everything from croissants and coffee au matin to light lunches, intimate dinners and bottomless brunches. Definitely worth noting for a pre-train ride meal from nearby King’s Cross and Saint Pancras.
For dinner we sample the silky boeuf tartare topped with quail egg and soupe de poissons with creamy rouille. Bold yet sophisticated, these are flavours not for the faint of heart, and the punchy flavours will have you scoffing things down in double-quick time. We move onto mains of magret de canard with parsnip purée, apples, shallots and a honey thyme jus and pan-fried cod with seasonal vegetables, clams and a bourbon velouté. Both are just the right size, leaving us satisfied but with just enough room for an indulgent pud.
If there’s one thing the French are known for, it’s the sweet stuff. We dipped our spoon into a pot of crème brûlée, updated with an infusion of Earl Grey tea and a sprinkling of spiced pear and a dreamy melt-in-the-middle fondant au chocolate with hazelnut ice cream.
As expected at a French restaurant, special attention is given to a killer selection of French grapes with a few carefully selected Spanish and Italian bins also available. Wines are divided by colour and region for easier selection, or, make like a modern Frenchie with the enticing cocktail list. The signature Dirty Pink with gin, lemon syrup, Chambord raspberry liquor and egg white is as good as cocktails can get.
Set against a chic colour palette of grey, pink and rose gold, the interior design is made for Instagram – we loved the notes of naughtiness like provocative artworks hidden in the powder rooms. Once the warmer weather arrives we can imagine its wraparound terrace with woven bistro chairs are the perfect spot for some people watching.
We’ll be heading back and weekend for their ‘Get Frenched’ brunch – go bottomless for £15 and enjoy glasses of prosecco, mimosas, Bellinis and Bloody Marys, alongside dishes such as pancakes with berries and maple syrup; the B.V. Breakfast (a French take on the classic full English) or ‘The Morning After’, complete with a succulent steak.