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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Valentine’s Menu 2014 Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester

Dining with the Husband, Michelin Star Restaurant, Three Michelin Star

in 2014 I was fortunate enough to eat the most romantic meal of the year, in one of the best restaurants in the UK.  Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

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They offered a special Valentines Day Menu, with some very romantic offerings

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Foie gras ravioli, delicate duck consommé

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Salad of warm Scottish lobster, coral vinaigrette

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Fillet of beef, Swiss chards and ox cheek ‘gratin’, truffled jus

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How the dessert looked before I tucked into it! (I forgot to take a photo)

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A heart for two

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Petit Fours

Such a gorgeous menu, in a beautiful dining room.  This is an amazing restaurant and because of its opulence a meal on any day would feel romantic.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Mwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!

2014 – My year in restaurants

Afternoon Tea, Brunch, Dining with friends, Dining with Mum, Dining with the Children, Dining with the Husband, Food Festival, Michelin Star Restaurant, Non Michelin Restaurants, One Michelin Star, Pop Up Experience, Three Michelin Star, Two Michelin Star

2014 has been a year of amazing restaurant experiences for my husband and I.  Halfway through the year I decided to start documenting my meals on WordPress to share with fellow foodies and to remind myself of the delicious plates of food that have been sat in front of me.

January
The year started off with my birthday meal at the Midsummer house.  As we approached the restaurant, walking over the bridge, the beautiful fairy lights looked magical.  The food I encountered was also magic.  I loved this restaurant, it was very romantic and felt special, the food was incredible and a perfect destination for celebrating my special day.  I loved the BBQd beetroot.  

February
Birth month for my husband and we dined at the Ledbury for his special day.  The service was amazing we had the tasting menu.  We were actually allowed into the kitchen and got to meet Brett Graham who was very welcoming to us.  

We also got to celebrate Valentines day in style at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester.

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March
I took my Mum for Mother’s Day to The Skylounge at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel – Tower of London.  It was a gorgeous sunny day, and the champagne and cocktails went down a treat!

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Me & my Mummy

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April
We celebrated our wedding anniversary and stayed at Penny Hill Park and we dinned in their 2 Michelin Star The Latymer.  This was an incredible evening away, the hotel upgraded our room, the spa is the best I’ve visited and to have this incredible restaurant located in the hotel made it perfection.

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Gorgeous outdoor pool at Penny Hill Park

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Beautiful roll top bath

May
We ate at the highly anticipated Fera, hubby was desperate to get a table for the opening week but had to settle for the opening fortnight.  I loved this meal.  I loved the excitement in the dining room, I loved the way Simon Rogan presented us one of our courses and I loved that it’s so much like L’Enclume (another of my favourite restaurants).

During May I also experienced the John Lewis Garden Room pop up restaurant, twice

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And attended the ‘too many chefs’ event at the Drapers Arms in aid of action against huger.  10 chefs, 10 different courses.

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I also had a catch up with a dear friend at the two Michelin star restaurant Hibiscus. We ate from the amazing value set menu and had such a lovely time before we knew it we were the last two people in the restaurant.   I loved the ‘Pork Pie’ dish.

June
We attended the best food festival London has to offer, Taste of London.  I have been to most of the London food festivals this year and in my opinion this is head and shoulders above the rest.

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I also had a fab girly night at Shaka Zulu, Camden

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I attended a meet the makers event at Bread Street Kitchen with Gonzales Byass Sherries.

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July
A fantastic Birthday Brunch with my mum at One Aldwych

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We took the kids to The Big Easy

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Had an alfresco lunch at Cha Cha Moon

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I made marvellous macarons at Jenius Social, which was really good fun, and hard work too!

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August
I visited the lovely Tamarind of Mayfair, where I had my first taste of lobster in the form of a masala and I particularly enjoyed the Papdi chaat.  This is a fantastic restaurant the staff are lovely, it’s like being in your local Indian, but they have a prestigious Michelin Star.

This was the month I also faced my fear trying Sashimi at Yashin ocean house and actually enjoyed the experience.

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One of the best and most underrated restaurant I visited this year was Launceston Place.  I was certain this would get a second Michelin star as the food and service we received certainly deserved it!

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September

I dined 100ft high in the sky with L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
London and Alyn Williams at The Westbury.

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I also experienced a kitchen takeover Glynn Purnell at Nathan’s Outlaw’s at The Capital

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October
We visited the sophisticated Alyn Williams at The Westbury, my second experience of Alyn Williams’ food but with my feet firmly on the ground.

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Booked almost a year prior to the visit we eventually visited Tom Kerridge’s famous pub The hand and flowers.  It was great and the food was fantastic particularly the desserts.

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Drakes restaurant Woking was a lovely treat and with no expectations I was very pleasantly surprised.  Great feel to the dining room and fantastic food really liked way the cheese course was presented.

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November
This was a casual month where I dined with friends.
I dined at the The Fish & Chip Shop, Islington and it definitely is the best fish and chips I’ve had.  I loved the quirky decor too.

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Another place I visited was The Remedy wine bar, a fantastic little gem. Real cosy place offering great  charcuterie and cheese boards and quality wine.   My friend and I had a fab evening here. I will definitely be revisiting in 2015 for more catch ups with friends.

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We attended Taste of winter for the first time.  Had loads of fun and I tried food from Kurobuta London and it is a restaurant I look forward to visiting in the new year.

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I also attended a SPIES event at South Place Hotel and had a fantastic magical mystery evening.

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December
For the second year running I enjoyed a festive afternoon tea with my friends at the Conrad Hotel, Westminister.  With free flowing champagne for £45 I think this is an absolute bargain! I’m sure to be back again next December.

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So that’s a round up of my year, what a great year it has been too!  Thank you to my hubby for taking me for all these incredible meals and thank you so much to all the restaurants for the incredible food and service received.

Here’s to 2015!