Date night @ Rivea London

Dining with the Husband, Non Michelin Restaurants

During the summer holidays my husband and I have taken full advantage of date night opportunities whilst our children stay with their grandparents. We are very fortunate that my husband’s parents are our childcare, and we couldn’t wish for any better than that.

So anyway, my husband had booked us a table at Rivea London. Found in the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge.

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Rivea London offers French and Italian small plates.  Inspired by food markets in Italy and Provence.

The Executive Chef is Alexandre Nicolas, who spent more than 10 years under the tutelage of the incredible Alain Ducasse.  So expectations were very high!

Rivea’s menu expresses the Mediterranean’s fresh and healthy cuisine with a focus on vegetables and their diversity of flavours and textures.

My husband had booked through bookatable which currently has a star deal of 4 plates and a glass of wine for £35 per person.  This includes 2 starter plates, a main and a dessert. I know, what an absolute bargain bonanza!

We were shown downstairs into the restaurant and I immediately noticed the tasseled curtain which instantly reminded me of the curtained private dining area at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester.  The wooden interior contributed to the good acoustics, the subtle piped in music created an atmosphere even though the dining room wasn’t very full.

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We were given our menus and asked our preference of wine for the included glass, as the deal was such a bargain we decided to purchase an additional glass.  The sommelier was happy to match a glass of white and red to pair with our food choices.

Whilst I was in the toilet a plate of dips and breadsticks was served and,  can you believe it, my husband tucked in before I came back! Oh the indignity! But look at these, they look amazing, they came with an index card like you’d get in a box of chocolates, impressive.

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Plates are small and designed for sharing so we both ordered different dishes to get a wider choice.  To start we ordered

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Provence-style vegetable caponata

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Buffalo mozzarella, courgette and basil

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Garden pea soup, ewe’s curd

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Rivea salad wrapped in a socca

As mentioned before the emphasis is very much on vegetables.  The courgette and mozzarella looked beautiful.  The pea soup was also beautifully presented before the actual soup was poured onto the ewes curd.  The caponata was probably my favourite of the four.  A lovely combination of vegetables and flavours.   I really admired the actual dishes the food was served in, so pretty and I’m sure my mums got something similar in the cupboard from when I was a kid which she used to make up angel delight in!

For main I ordered the Corn-fed chicken breast, macaroni au gratin.

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I don’t often order chicken as I eat so much at home but I was intrigued by the macaroni au gratin.   Well, you could have knocked me down with a chicken feather! It was incredible.  I often make Mac cheese at home, which I think I make pretty well, but this was literally Mac cheese heaven! If only they did that as a dish I’d be all over it!

Hubby ordered Confit veal shank, Swiss chard and carrot.

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I had a small taste and it was good but nothing could compare to that gratin I was savouring.  Mmmmmmm, I’m actually salivating now!

Because my husband is used to spending a lot more on meals than the deal we were getting we decided to throw in two additional desserts and a cheese course.

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We had a small British cheese selection, to share which was good although slightly too cold, I would have preferred it at room temperature.

Now dessert time!!!! We were served two at a time.

Lemon shortbread, Limoncello sorbet

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Apricot and pistachio contemporary vacherin

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Then

Chocolate tart

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Tiramisù

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Desserts were fantastic.  All of them equally delicious.

So my verdict? Well firstly it’s incredible value.  But I think I had gone with the wrong expectations.  As I have been to Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester and his name is linked to this restaurant, I expected similar food, which is not what Rivea London is about.    It’s about basics and flavours.  I had gone expecting extravagance.  The food was still fantastic and I’m still raving about my main, and all of the desserts, but I was mistaken in thinking it would be the three Michelin star quality of the Dorchester.  But you cant get this incredible value there!

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