Cuisine Nicoise from Alain Ducasse
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : French, Italian
Address : Bulgari Hotel & Residences, 171 Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge, London, SW7 1DW , UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.rivealondon.com
Opening Times : Mon-Sun 12pm-2.30pm & 6.30pm-10.30pm
Closest Tube : Knightsbridge
Alain Ducasse is one of the biggest names in gastronomy - a chef‘s chef - so we had high expectations when visiting his newest restaurant, Rivea London in the Bulgari Hotel, high expectations that were outshone by the extremely high quality of the dining experience. Borrowing its name and theme from his restaurant in St Tropez, Rivea pays homage to the cuisine of the Cote d‘Azur with a menu that is evocative of its morning fresh harvests and sunny climes. The room that formerly housed Il Ristorante has been softened with a pastel blue and white colour palette, carried throughout in everything from the geometrically patterned carpet to the glass and dishware. It‘s very 1960s chic, replete with funky touches including orb lamps and a market table boasting a handsome cornucopia of produce. These light touches breathe warmth into the ice cold glamour of the building, creating a pleasing dynamic. The food is humble in origin but exceptionally refined in execution. Whilst enjoying expertly crafted aperitifs from the bar upstairs we were brought a minute bowl of grissini-style breadsticks with nine miniature pots of condiments, as well as some crispy socca - a perfectly seasoned slice of chickpea pancake that put to shame anything we‘d tried on the Riviera. The menu is engaging and entertaining, it invites you to spend a few minutes poring over it. We were invited to each choose two small plates, a pasta, a ‘Rivea dish‘ for the main, and a dessert. The starters and the pasta were difficult to beat. We loved the red mullet escabeche with confit tomatoes, interposed with small saline detonations from the capers and olives; as well as ridiculously fresh asparagus served with parmesan tuile or the phenomenally tender, eye-poppingly colourful warm octopus and potato salad with edible flowers and deep-fried flakes of garlic. The pastas were perfectly simple and sumptuous. Artichoke and borage ravioli was creamy and flavourful, with texture provided by the oil-crisped outer leaves of the artichoke. A potato sage and Parmesan gnocchi was the best we‘d tried in London. The only meat that we ordered during the evening was a rib and saddle of lamb with new potatoes and broad beans, cooked to an immaculate medium rare. For dessert, we opted for the orange tian and chocolate tart. Each was the other‘s antithesis; the former offering a light, sweet finish while the latter was a masterclass in lusciousness. London has scored big with this newest Ducasse venture - hopefully he‘ll continue to bring his brand to Britain!