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Lunch at Rivea London

October 28, 2014

Our quarterly lunchtime jaunt in search of excellent food, aptly named the ‘Posh Scoff Lunch Club’, is something I truly relish and it can only be bettered on the occasions when it is my turn to pick the restaurant. In the past I’ve done a bit of research, read some reviews and kept an eye out on Twitter to see where is being talked about. But on this occasion, I just Googled one name: Alain Ducasse. For years I’ve yearned to eat the food masterminded by this culinary legend, and finally I’d got the perfect opportunity. More well known in London for Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, he’s recently put his name to a new venture in the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge, with a price tag that doesn’t make you sob loudly into your bank statement; Rivea London.

In the words of the website (how lazy am I?!) ‘Head Chef Damien Leroux’s menu of small plates incorporates the classic flavours and vivid colours of the Riviera, with a focus on simple creations and the best ingredients, particularly vegetables. Alongside a myriad of local produce, specialist products including cured meats and olive oil from Italy are part of the experience.
The set lunch menu includes 4 small dishes from the A la carte, half a bottle of water, tea or coffee, is available daily and can be enjoyed in under an hour.’

In simple terms, it was fresh, delicate and impressive. A hit amongst my fellow diners. A triple twenty score on my lunching dartboard!

The elegance of the surroundings was a great start. Even just walking through the cocktail bar upstairs, I was thinking “This is a place I’d like to spend a lot of time”. Maybe it’s because I had just returned from Las Vegas and hadn’t quite shaken the cocktail habit (and why would I want to?), or maybe it was because the sweeping staircase into what I think was probably an art deco-inspired dining room made me think I was back in Vegas decadence but whatever the reason, it set the right tone.

The menu was full of choice and I really liked the idea of smaller plates, meaning I could sample more flavours, textures and ideas. I could be greedy without getting too full!

Whilst most of my companions picked something from the starters and then a small plate from the pasta menu, I went with two starters to begin. Wanting to keep it fresh and light, I opted for a seabass carpaccio with slow-roasted tomatoes and pine nuts and also a beautiful, velvety bowl of cep mushroom veloute, which had little pyramids of a creamy filled ravioli swimming around in it. These, combined with the delicious black olive focaccia they’d brought us, alongside lemon rolls and sourdough, and I was really settling into what became the most delightful outing.

Cep mushroom veloute

Cep mushroom veloute

For my main course, or ‘Rivea Plate’ as they call them, I went for the extravagant blue lobster with purple artichokes and a sauce that I practically licked clean from the plate. It was perfect – everything you’d expect from a lobster dish.

But best of all, none of it was too much – there was still room for dessert. Being a self-confessed chocoholic, I was easily tempted by the chocolate tart which was accompanied by a lovely little cocoa ice cream. The only disappointment here… It was too small a slice. But Gina saved the day by gifting me half of her dessert too…A delicious chocolate and raspberry number, which had a palette cleansing raspberry sorbet on the side.

The service was convivial; not too much and not too little. A perfect choice for a Saturday lunch with friends.


From → Eating Out

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