SquareMeal Review of
Rivea London at Bulgari Hotel
On a balmy evening in St Tropez, few restaurants can beat the original Rivea, a sun-drenched homage to Provençal cuisine. Sadly, something vital has been lost in transporting the restaurant to the glossy Bulgari Hotel’s windowless basement – chiefly, the sun. The glitzy art-deco interior does its best, but we can’t help feeling a vital component of the restaurant’s DNA is missing – a shame, because Alain Ducasse protégé Alexandre Nicolas can deliver some truly exquisite, flavoursome food. “Glamour and dainty plates” is the deal, and we’ve enjoyed many stonking small dishes: marinated slivers of sea bream in a citrus dressing; sautéed prawns the size of mini-lobsters accompanied by squid and cuttlefish; trofie pasta with a verdant, spiky pesto, and a stunning ‘cookpot’ of gently softened baby courgettes and flowers. There are also some conventional mains for those with big appetites (Riviera-style John Dory, say). Dishes don’t come cheap, but top-drawer service and a superb Franco-Italian wine list make it all worthwhile.