wine and cheese bar in clerkenwell
vivat bacchus is my favourite after-work hangout. it is a short walk from farrindgon, chancery lane or blackfriars tube stations. the restaurant is spread out over two floors. with three temperature-controlled wine cellars and a cheese room, an evening at vivat bacchus is always memorable. i usually come away learning about a fabulous new wine or cheese. how exciting is it to have over 6000 bottles of wine and 100 cheeses to choose from!
vivat bacchus has a diverse deli menu. some of the selections i like are the grilled seasoned vegetables with salsa verde and the paparadelle pasta with gorgonzola, peas, pine nuts and rocket. but what i usually get is their fabulous cheese board. you go to the cheese room (which is usually freezing cold!) and personally pick out the five to six cheeses that you'd like to have after an extensive dialogue with the cheese boy. i find the cheese boys very knowledgeable and they really help you create a balanced cheese board with soft/hard, mild/stinky, french/non-french cheeses. then you go back to your table and within five minutes you are served a gorgeously laid out cheese board with your chosen cheeses, crackers, grapes and lots of fresh bread. of course, by this point, you are already full thanks to the cheese boy's generosity in the cheese room while sampling to your heart's desire.
i went to vivat bacchus on friday night and discovered three new cheeses which i absolutely loved - reblochon, chablis and tomme brulee.
a very very soft cow's milk cheese with a washed rind. i love the creamy paste (although it has quite a pungent aroma which you have to get used to) and how easily you can slather it on crackers. i love the freshness and the smoothness of reblochon. read about the interesting origin of the cheese by clicking the link above.
another pungent, creamy and almost liquid cheese from france that i fell in love with. it's made from cow's milk and has a soft rind that is washed in chablis wine giving the cheese a delicate, slightly fruity note. i haven't been able to find much information on this cheese except that it's closest relative is epoisse.
this cheese comes from the basque region of france and what makes this semi-hard cheese distinctive is the burnt rind (think creme brulee). it paired really well with the other two gooey cheeses.