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Bulgari Hotel, 171 Knightsbridge
Rivea London at Bulgari Hotel closed permanently on 2 January 2019
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.
Best in Knightsbridge
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Bulgari Hotel, 171 Knightsbridge
Knightsbridge Tube Station 162m
Hyde Park Corner Tube Station 483m
Hyde Park 199m
Harvey Nichols 203m
Mon-Sun 7am-2.30pm 6.30-10.30pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
Ah - the Bulgari, expensive, glossy, with high end cars parked outside - this is a luxury hotel with so much polished wood and atmospheric lighting it's hard to see where you're going - but everything is perfect and scented. We met with friends for a get together and a delightful dinner from the set menu. We each had two starters, one main plate which wasn't a great deal larger than a starter, and dessert. Flavours were intense and delicious. Bowls of good breads were brought along with mini breadsticks and tiny pots of vegetable purees as dips, with a colour coded identification chart! My first starter of Provençe-style vegetable caponata was very light and fresh, each piece of vegetable cooked crisply and tasting of itself, though it was little more than a spoonful or two in size in total. The second starter of garden pea soup and ewes curd was chilled and luscious, also very light but velvety with the creamy curd and a few whole peas adding texture. The main course of sea bream with courgettes, fennel and girolles arrived on richly flavoured tomato sauce, and the slice of chocolate tart for dessert was deeply chocolaty with the best type of fine crisp pastry. Others also commented on the good flavours and textures of their choices, so the general view was good, but - some said afterwards they were still hungry as the portions were so small. If we were a smaller group and not on the set menu there is probably the opportunity to order some more small plates. Service was pleasant, friendly and helpful. Overall, this was much better than I expected, as too often hotel dining can be disappointing. This was a good choice.
Food + drink: 4
I do not agree with the comments on the site, I find Rivea to be an ideal place to take clients for lunch (it normally costs me £25-£35 a head) and dinner (£55+) while my wife likes to treat herself to the occasional spa day and lunch with her friends. At lunch I find the atmosphere to be quiet and discreet while dinner can be a more energetic affair. The bar area serves excellent cocktails while the restaurant operates a sort of continuous service concept of smaller portions as opposed to set courses allowing people to eat as many or as few of the wide range of dishes as you like at your own pace. I strongly recommend it.
It seems the Bulgari is trying to get itself somewhere nearer to its neighbours like the Mandarin or Dorchester in offering a new restaurant that tries to appeal to the London dinning scene rather than your usual (rather boring and down-letting) in-house hotel food outlet. While it has a long way to get anywhere close to those others mentioned before, it is a clear improvement over their prior restaurant
The setting is like the rest of the place - pretty trendy and classy (in this case also meaning expensive ...). Interesting menu which lends itself to the nowadays so popular sharing of dishes. Good quality food and while I couldn't point-out an outstanding star dish, none has disappointed either ... Decent although pricey (in particular in value for money terms) wine list
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