Review: Rivea at Bulgari London Hotel

Review: Rivea at Bulgari London Hotel

 

Seeking a Rivea London review? Here's our experience at Rivea Restaurant at Bulgari London Hotel, part of a round the world trip report including first class and business class flights, luxury hotel stays in London and Asia, and restaurant reviews. For the prior posts, please see:

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Review: British Airways Business Class on the 747-400 JFK-LHR

Best Seats in British Airways New First Class 747-400

Review: British Airways Arrivals Lounge in LHR and Heathrow Express to London

Launceston Place London Restaurant Review

Rosewood London Review

London Tips: British Museum with Kids

 

Getting to Rivea at Bulgari London

Rivea Restaurant at the Bulgari London Hotel & Residences is conveniently located at 171 Knightsbridge, just a short walk from the Knightsbridge Tube (subway) station, on the Piccadilly Line. From Rosewood London, it's just 6 stops away.

You'll easily see the Bulgari London hotel signage:

Bulgari London Hotel

 

Once inside the hotel lobby, bear to the left, where you'll see comfortable and cozy seating by a fireplace:

Bulgari London Hotel Lobby Lounge

 

Next, enter Il Bar, which features Bulgari's iconic oval bar:

Il Bar, Bulgari London Hotel

 

From there, descend the curving staircase to Rivea.


The Scene

We were at Rivea for an early lunch, so only a couple of tables of business folks having working lunches were already seated when we arrived. While we were there, some couples and an Italian family (perhaps hotel guests) were also seated. I can imagine that the dinner scene is busier, since Il Bar is already popular among well-heeled locals.

 

Rivea Menu and Food

Rivea is an Alain Ducasse restaurant, helmed by his Ducasse protege Damien Leroux, who has worked with Ducasse for 10 years in Provence and Monaco. The menu features small plates with bold flavors, and with a number of tempting choices, I asked our server for recommendations.

Rivea London Menu - Small Plates

Rivea London Lunch Menu for 35 GBP

 

We started off with a complimentary bread basket and delicious olive tapenade. I didn't think my son would care for the tapenade, since he normally doesn't eat olives at home, but it was so good I soon moved the tapenade next to his plate since he was slathering it on his bread even more thickly than I was.

Rivea London Review - Bread and Tapenade

 

Our server had recommended the Marinated Sea Bream with Citrus as an appetizer, and it was beautifully plated. The fish was pristinely fresh, with delcious, sweet flesh, and both of us enjoyed it, even though only I ate the citrus pieces.

Rivea London Review: Sea Bream with Citrus

 

Our next dish was one I was intrigued by, given my affinity for chestnuts: Artisanal Paccheri with Chestnuts and Sauteed Mushrooms. Paccheri is a kind of pasta from the Campania and Calabria regions in Italy, and while Rivera's Paccheri are made from dried pasta (unlike, say, Rivea's gnocchi, which is freshly made) it was nonetheless a beautifully balanced and satisfying dish, with the perfectly al dente pasta, sweetness of the chestnuts, and earthy wild mushrooms all tangled together in a light creamy sauce.

Rivea London Review: Paccheri with Chestnuts and Wild Mushrooms

 

The munchkin decided to order the Seared Beef Fillet for his main dish, and as with everything we ordered, it was prepared perfectly and plated attractively. Because the other dishes were so excellent, however, it suffered a bit by comparison, simply because it was more ordinary and something you can readily get at a number of places.

Rivea London Review: Seared Beef Fillet with Vegetables

 

Both of us agreed that we preferred my Roast Duckling with Figs, which offered both roast duck breast and rich confit with perfectly crisped duck skin, all plated with silky rich natural duck jus and fresh figs–yum!

Rivea London Review: Roast Duckling with Figs

 

For dessert, I chose the Green Plum Cookpot, which was exactly as described, with both cooked plums and fresh plums in a cute casserole dish, served with almond ice cream. It also came with some crispy pastry cookies. I liked it and it was very fresh tasting, but I've had many desserts I've enjoyed more. 

Plum Cookpot with Almond Ice Cream, Rivea London

 

My son enjoyed a selection of ice creams and sorbet: vanilla ice cream, lavender honey ice cream, and strawberry sorbet. Our favorite was the honey lavender ice cream.

Rivea London Review - Ice Creams and Sorbet

 

Even though we'd enjoyed a very satisfying meal and were full, Rivea capped it all off with some complimentary shortbread cookies with chocolate filling. They looked so delicious that we asked if we could take them with us instead, to enjoy when we were hungrier, and our server was happy to oblige, wrapping them up very nicely.

Rivea London Review - Complimentary Cookies to Finish

 

The Service

Service, from our welcome through dining recommendations, serving the courses and water refills was excellent: attentive and always there when we needed our server, but never hovering. The meal was also paced nicely. Overall, service felt more polished and professional than at Launceston Place, which probably isn't surprising given that Rivea is in the 5-star Bulgari Hotel, a Virtuoso property.

 

The Verdict

I've grown a bit leery of even high end “celebrity chef” restaurants, especially when the celebrity chef is one with as many restaurants and projects as Alain Ducasse has. But I was pleasantly surprised by Rivea, at least for our lunch. I would order everything except the beef fillet and the green plum cookpot again, and in particular return for the Sea Bream and the Duckling with Figs, which were standout dishes.

If you've dined at Rivea at Bulgari London, what was your experience?

Related Posts

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Rosewood London Review

Disclosure: My family and I were guests and enjoyed a complimentary lunch at Rivea London, however the views expressed in this post are my own.

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