Rivea’s Sunday feast at the Bulgari Hotel
Devised by Alain Ducasse, a true legend of French cuisine, and run by executive chef Alexandre Nicolas, Rivea London at the Bulgari is an upscale yet relaxed mediterannean restaurant in the heart of Knightsbridge. Elegant, wide tables characterise the bright dining room designed by illustrious architect Antonio Cittero.
Rivea offers dishes inspired by the French and Italian riviera – an area well-known to Ducasse – and has launched a Sunday feast menu to the delight of West Londoners. But what makes a Sunday lunch work? When you spend three hours at the table forgetting about everything else, that’s already a very good sign.
The format of this new menu is simple: each guest picks two starters, one sharing course for the entire table, and a dessert. We are three and with champagne flowing, bread and butter, and six dishes on the table, it already feels like a real feast.
The Stone Bass Carpaccio and Pine Nuts – for those who enjoy raw fish – is hands down the nicest, more well-balanced of the first courses, the tenderness of the stone bass flesh enriched by the crunchiness of the pine nuts. While the Rivea Salad Wrapped in a Socca is the most photogenic of the options, Grilled Octopus, Chickpeas and Fennel stands out for taste and finesse.
There are five sharing courses to choose from and given the appeal of each one of them, the only downside is the risk of a fight (yes, one of my fellow diners and I have a four-minute discussion over that choice). We try the Leg of Milk-Fed Lamb, Baby Vegetables Navarin-style Jus and the Roasted Corn-fed Chicken with Lemon and Thyme, Sautéed Camargue Rice. The feast concept is clear from the look of each of these dishes: not only for the generous portions but the variety of little extras, from the vegetables to the sauces and side bowls.
What’s a Sunday lunch without desserts? It’s like a movie without an ending. Ducasse’s restaurant’s selection should satisfy any palate with the Chocolate Tart; Our Favourite Cheesecake; Mirliton Biscuit, Citrus and Almonds; Piedmont Hazelnut Choux; Amalfi Lemon and Meringue Tart. We persuade the waiter to let us try pretty much all of them and, believe me, the hazelnut choux is the go-to pudding. The chocolate tart and the Amalfi lemon cake follow suit.
The new Sunday feast menu completes the offer of Rivea with the most appropriate format for the restaurant: an informal yet excellent long lunch to enjoy the weekend handled seamlessly by the front of house team.★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
To book a table at Rivea, 171 Knightsbridge London SW7 1DW, call 020 7151 1025 or visit here.