Lunch at Thistle Street’s Bon Vivant

After Red’s first Eating Edinburgh lunch experience a few weeks ago at Iris she needed little encouragement to do it all again! This time, at her suggestion, we went a couple doors along to The Bon Vivant Restaurant on Thistle Street. I had also heard good reports and was intrigued by their £1 bites menu, so was keen to try it out myself.

On arrival, I was greeted by very well presented and friendly waiters sporting long white aprons and shown up to the main dining area however not sure quite how large the ever expanding Red would be by now I was offered a table on the lower level with more space around it. The decor is simple and evocative of a different era, a more austere Maxim’s springs to mind. Lighting is low, dark wood is ubiquitous, as are reminders of good times, bottles of champagne and fine French wines. On the tables sit ‘volcanic’ candles in bottles and shelves are charmingly constructed from old champagne/wine cases.

Mix & match starters from the Bites menu

There appeared to be a few different menus on offer but we were more interested in the daily lunch menu, one that clearly is updated daily as it had the day/date on the top. The Bites menu is a really good idea, instead of choosing just one starter (although you can still do this) you can mix & match your own at a £1 a bite. They also do this for the desserts, genius! The menu is heavily influenced by Italy, Spain & France with nods to traditional home cooking and dishes from further afield and is pretty damn tasty!

For my starters I chose Black Pudding with tomato chutney, Brie fritters with pesto and smoked mackerel pate. Red also went for the black pudding as well as onion bhaji and chicken croquettes, (as did baby!). The mains were harder to decide on but Red went for a smoked garlic, wild mushroom & asparagus lasagne and myself the pork loin with an aubergine & goats cheese galette & a butternut squash purée.

Although I was completely stuffed after our tasty first courses at £1 a pop to try the desserts I had a ‘what the hell’ moment and opted for a plum & almond ice cream and honeycomb & blueberry cheesecake. Red (& baby) went for a chocolate tart with Chantilly cream and a golden syrup sponge, well it would have been rude not to! I really must learn not to be so greedy, especially at lunch time but that’s what Fridays are for!

Mix & match desserts from the After-Bites menu

It’s hard to fault the place, apart from my pork being overcooked and a bit tough, the menu is exciting, fresh and well priced, the staff friendly and the decor is ‘on brand’! The bathrooms are lovely, great touches such as good quality paper towels in an old wine box and nice soap all add to the ambience. I’d definitely like to go back one evening so that I could also indulge from the wine menu. On the whole great place for a business lunch or an evening á deux.

The Bon Vivant, 55 Thistle Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DY. Tel: 0131 225 3275

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4 Responses to “Lunch at Thistle Street’s Bon Vivant”

  1. November 30, 2010 at 10:56 am #

    Thistle Street is fabulous for restaurants. Really like Bon Vivant – not least because they have a range of champagnes by the glass! – and Iris. And Dusit also just a few doors away is my favourite Edinburgh Thai.

  2. November 30, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

    It really is isn’t it, and a place that people often forget about, Fishers is another favourite along it

  3. anon
    July 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    Unfortunately this place – which yes is great, a little bit loud for dinner on a Saturday night – we were encouraged to buy wine from their newly opened shop next door which was fine, but the corkage was £12 PER BOTTLE!! On a table with 8 folk, you can imagine the size of our bill – you can probably also imagine the look on our faces!! I won’t be returning, unless they re-think this area of their business!

    • July 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

      OUCH! I think even £5 is excessive for corkage!!! Was it £12 per bottle? I’m guessing this wasn’t mentioned when you were advised to purchase the bottle in the first place……?

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