Alain Ducasse’s Rivea in London’s absurdly glamorous Bulgari Hotel is a lush treat. Geometric carpets and mirrored walls make for an Art Deco-meets-disco aesthetic. There’s even a sweeping spiral staircase down to the restaurant, partially screened by (what could be) the world’s biggest beaded curtain.
The head chef is Ducasse’s protégé Alexandre Nicolas, and the cuisine is Riviera-inspired, borrowing from French, Italian, and Mediterranean cuisines.
Until Nov. 13, the restaurant is offering a chestnut-themed menu, following the Mediterranean tradition of celebrating a particular seasonal produce. It’s all at a worthwhile price of 48 GBP ($58), too, which includes either a glass of Chateau Unang Ventoux Blanc — crisp and dry — or the mellow, deep golden chestnut craft beer.
A chestnut velouté with chive-scented ricotta ravioli is a delicate way to begin. The first course is creamily smooth but given some bite with the few silky, yet al dente, pieces of pasta. Lush slices of gravlax and dainty chestnut blinis follow.
For a main course, you can choose either scallops or boar. We recommend the boar, as the chestnut-scented pumpkin that accompanies the scallops almost feels a chestnut too far. But the boar — oh, the boar — is tender, punchy, and scattered with seasonal vegetables; just the thing for a fall day.
Dessert is pear and chestnut vacherin: creamy, delicious, and pretty on the plate. We’ll be interested to see what other seasons bring to Rivea.
To read more about London's eating and drinking scenes, click here.