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The Bon Vivant – Edinburgh, Sunday Lunch Review

The Bon Vivant

The Bon Vivant

And so to Sunday lunch at The Bon Vivant, having read a nice review.  When we arrived at 1.30pm, having booked a table for 6 people, we found we were the only customers!  This came as a surprise to me, I expected it to be busy by that time on a Sunday, but after we settled down to our table on the mezzanine other customers began to arrive.

The room is a cosy space, with a bar to the left as you enter, and then the main restaurant area up a few steps taking over the back half of the room, although food is served in all areas.  A speciality of The Bon Vivant is Champagne by the glass, although we didn’t partake this time.  The menu for “The Sunday Soul Sessions” was straightforward, two courses for £10 or three courses for £12, although if you are looking variety and choice you need the A la carte menu.  Popular were the bites (mostly at £1 each) and do ‘exactly as it says on the tin’, couple of bites and it’s over, then the 2 course fixed menu. I had a mushroom tart bite, which was a teeny, tiny little sliver of tart that was fine but nothing to get excited about.  A friend had an arancini – a risotto ball with cheese in the centre – which was tasty. The pumpkin soup was given the thumbs up, but it’s being served in a cup and saucer was not.


Menus - click photo to enlarge

The Kiwi asked about the suggested wine, Riesling, and whether it was quite sweet, to which the waiter suggested that he bring a sample so we could taste it to decide if it was to our palate – and I noted that a few other tables were given this option, which I think is fantastic, client-focused service.  Having tasted it we ordered a bottle for the table, whilst a friend chose a Chardonnay – she was also given a taste first – all happy!

Sunday Roast

Sunday Roast

A number of us chose the Linda Dick chicken with herb stuffing, roasted potatoes and veg – what we didn’t know is that since 5 of us ordered that the kitchen would serve the chicken on a platter with the roasters for us to help ourselves…. And this seemed to happen at other tables, too.  Had we the choice I think we would have asked them to plate it up for us, rather than leave us to stretch across to serve ourselves.  That said, the chicken was lovely, the herb stuffing a little on the dry side but tasty and the roast potatoes were yum! Unfortunately, the gravy boat was greasy and as a friend passed the gravy to the Kiwi it slipped and crashed on the table and over me and the Kiwi, scalding the Kiwi’s hand! When the waiter came over to help clear up he said that it happens all the time and he nearly did that with a coffee pot – yikes! Sounds like there is a problem that needs looking at, perchance?

Apple crumble was just right – a little tart, but with a lovely, tasty, crunchy crumble topping but there was

Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

not enough topping!  And again, served in a cup and saucer, although considered more appropriate for a dessert. Coffee was served in a pot – no cappuccinos or lattes here – and lovely, china cups and saucers! All felt they ate well for the price, and we would be happy to return.

The service was personable, helpful but a bit ‘lazy, Sunday afternoon’ – had we made plans for anything after lunch we would have ended up stressed by the service was being so chilled out.  As the place got busier I got the feeling they could have done with another member of staff to assist.

As for The Sunday Soul Session, the dj was playing some great music, but a bit too loud for a Sunday afternoon when you want to have a relaxed lunch and good chat with friends – we ended up having to raise our voices in order to talk to one another which I would accept in a bar, but not in a restaurant.

55 Thistle Street, Edinburgh EH2 1DY, Scotland  Phone: 0131 225 3275

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3 Responses

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  1. Marisa Sara says

    I think your review is quite unfair and rather snobbery considering that it actually IS a bar, more than it is a restaurant. I went a couple of weeks ago with five others on a sunday and we too had the Linda Dick chicken. I don’t normally order chicken, but I thought that it was absolutly amazing. So juicy and their duck fried potatoes were wonderfully crispy, fifteen minutes later and they were still crunchy. In my opinion, i think that the concept of self serving works with a large group. We had ours served at the table, and it was great to be able to serve ourselves any extra bits and bobs accordingly. My friend was pretty full after her first serving so I ended eating double portion…yummy. The only downside to that was that myself and my other friend ended up fighting over the stuffing, in the end, we asked for more, and got more for free, served with a smile. I think the staff are so down to earth, professional and friendly. I haven’t tried their a la carte just yet as I’m always in there too late, but can’t wait. Bites for a pound?? Amazing! I love the way their menu changes constantly, it’s quite clever and exciting…think I might just go now and try it.

  2. Paola says

    Thanks for your comment, I was surprised that you considered it “unfair and snobbery” – I thought The Bon Vivant was great particularly for the price point, generally the service was good, particularly liked the customer service in allowing you to taste the wine before buying a bottle, and I also said that we enjoyed the food – the only down side I found was the way it was served!

  3. Ross says

    I agree with Marisa! Here here!