But there's nothing old school about the interiors. The vast, glass-sided space right by Centre Point is slickly decorated, with attention grabbing art works, statement lighting, an enticing bar area and a elegant mixture of blush and teal. When we reviewed on a Thursday night, VIVI was buzzing with people and the promise of a good time. But the bright and breezy space is also built for leisurely brunches or pre-theatre cocktails.
The name VIVI is a play on Roman numbers – 1966 was the year Centre Point was built – and the bar menu riffs on this sixties heritage with cocktails inspired by cult albums. Rolling in Brown Sugar, an homage to the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers, is a moreish twist on a classic champagne cocktail, with jasmine inflused sugar and a hit of Havana Club rum. And the Pink Floyd Rhubarb is a photogenic shade of bubblegum.
The menu is a safe yet playful selection of British favourites, from Scampi and Chips to Chicken Kiev. It's essentially pub grub, but with a few fine-dining frills and a little more delicacy. And actually, it feels nice to order for your self and have your own portion – no sharing. Especially if you are the smug one that ordered the cheese souffle starter. Airily light yet sinfully rich, it's loaded with a silky cheddar sauce and a resting base of braised Piedmont peppers for a kick of freshness and colour. On the more carnivorous scale, the Steak Tartar has a strong kick of tomato alongside the metallic meatiness.
Though the health conscious will find options (grilled leeks are tempting and the salads looked hearty), the highlights of VIVI's menu are these more indulgent dishes. Their signature chicken kiev manages to capture the garlic butter 'pop' of the 70s favourite, while adding sophistication with braised cabbage and an extra crisp panko crust.
Service is congenial, but increasingly slow as the restaurant gets busier. Thankfully the staff are good at keeping drinks topped up – and it's easy to be patient after another glass of wine.
|What||VIVI Restaurant review|
|Where||VIVI Restaurant , Centre Point, 11 Giles Square, London , WC2H 8AP | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Tottenham Court Road (underground)|
|Website||Click here to book a table|