Rivea London was launched in May 2014 by internationally renowned chef Alain Ducasse at Bulgari Hotel & Residences, London. Inspired by the many years Ducasse spent visiting the vibrant food markets in Italy and Provence, Rivea serves French and Italian cuisine in a chic, convivial and relaxed setting. The menu of small plates incorporates the classic flavours and vivid colours of the Riviera. After just 9 months since opening, Rivea was proud to announce that it had been awarded a coveted three Rosettes by the highly respected 2015 AA Guide.
Commenting on the opening, Ducasse said: ‘I am delighted to bring Rivea to such a vibrant culinary scene as London. The restaurant encompasses the essence of my cuisine, inspired by the many artisan producers we have met in the Riviera.’
Rivea’s interior reflects the marine colour palette of the coastal regions, with blue as the predominant colour, highlighted with accents of chrome, silver and mahogany. Staff also echo the restaurant’s relaxed and chic nature, wearing canvas trainers with fabric navy blue bow ties.
Rivea champions ‘La Cuisine du Soleil’, a vibrant, colourful cuisine, which traditionally uses produce from local artisans; in this case sourced mainly within the British Isles, with a focus on simple flavours and the best ingredients, particularly vegetables. Echoing the vivid ingredients, dishes are served on bright, colourful tableware, including glass or Bayadere striped tableware inspired by the Italian seaside. Bespoke embroidered napkins will provide further warmth, with five different designs reflecting the core ingredients of Rivea cuisine.
Entering Rivea, we are greeted by a beautiful fragrance reminiscent of Bulgari parfum which makes this probably the best air freshener in the world. At the table Evian is the mineral water of choice served by the impeccable waiter who brings us a selection of breads to start including bread sticks, lemon bread, black olive bread and crispy Socca. These were all served with a special selection of eight butters and condiments in tiny but dainty pots.
It is suggested that you choose 4 to 5 dishes per person from the a la carte menu. The smaller plates are between £8 to £12 with the larger Rivea plates going up to £23. Desserts are all £7 with the cheese selection coming in at £8.
The Warm Octopus and Potato Salad is incredibly soft. We are told that they boil the lobster for two hours to get it this tender. Such intensive cooking methods really pay off and this is just one of many excellent dishes on the menu.
Of the pasta dishes, our favourites were the Pumpkin Ravioli with Parma Ham and the Gnocchi flavoured with Sage and Parmesan. Both were cooked to perfection and showcased the unique handmade varieties of pasta produced from the kitchen.
Moving on to the fish dishes, the Marinated Sea Bream had a zingy burst of citrus flavours and the Gamberoni delighted us with succulent prawns served with a delicate lobster jelly. Our favourite fish dish was the Sea Bass Carpaccio which was wafer thin slices of the freshest sea bass served with the nutty crunch of pine nuts.
Other dishes on the menu we did not have time to sample include a take on the Genovese Torta Pasqualina, traditionally served around Easter time. The torta is a thin-crusted pie filled with Swiss chard, courgettes, artichokes, peas, ricotta and Parmesan cheese. Baked John Dory a la Riviera is cooked in a fish soup, similar to the iconic bouillabaisse from Marseille and pan-seared lamb chops with new potatoes and fava beans celebrates spring at its best.
Desserts include a lemon shortbread with limoncello sorbet and a chocolate tart made with chocolate from Alain Ducasse Manufacture de Chocolat in Paris. In addition, guests may choose to finish their meal with a traditional digestive including Marc de Provence or grappa.
The wine list showcases the French terroir, with a focus on Provence and other regions of South of France and Rhone Valley. Classic Italian wines feature from northern Italy and Tuscany. Some rose and white wines from Provence are exclusively available by the Jeroboam and are also served by the glass and by the carafe.
Rivea serves a set lunch menu comprising a selection of three small plates plus dessert for £32 including half a bottle of water and coffee or £40 including an additional glass of wine. At dinner, a seven course tasting menu is available for £65.
Bulgari Hotel & Residences
London SW7 1DW