Love London

One of the latest openings from hospitality double act Arian and Alberto Zandi, Riviera took over the imposing glass block of St James Street that used to be home to Sake No Hana. Own out of their passion for the south of France, the restaurant offers a relaxed yet luxurious setting to enjoy some of the flavours of the Côte d’Azur.

The design takes inspiration from the rich elegance and colours of the French Riviera. With three areas - the main dining room, the ‘Amelia’ lounge, with shimmering turquoise tiles surrounding the bar, and a terrace just waiting for sunshine, though full covered and heated it’s still worth a visit.

An early evening weeknight supper meant the restaurant to ourselves upon arrival, though it soon filled up. A creative cocktail menu delivers all the holiday drinking feels with none of the blue curaçao ‘resort’ serves  including the Peach Caviar - peach and vanilla liqueurs, vanilla vodka, double cream foam, lemon juice and apricot soda - and the Coconut Breeze, with gin infused butterfly pea tea, coconut rum, coconut water, cacao blanc, lime and tonic water.

Tucking in to a trio of starters, the food reflects the flavours of the French coast. A tuna Niçoise salad - of course - was fantastic; full of fresh crunch with a punch vinaigrette dressing. The lobster   brioche roll was sweet and delicate but a courgette flower, stuffed with truffle and goat’s cheese and them dipped in tempura, was a standout. The truffle and cheese gnocchi was a deeply indulgent dish, oozing and creamy and quite delicious. A plate of grilled lamb cutlets was a mammoth dish; tender and juicy lamb resting on a bed of lentils was almost a whole meal in itself, though of course we accompanied with a wonderfully creamy mashed potato and sautéed French beans with confit onion and chilli. A veritable feast. Pudding was a delightful chunk of chocolate brownie with homemade vanilla ice cream, the perfect end to what was a rather lovely meal.

By the time we finished the restaurant was packed, evidently its other customers were on Riviera time. This new spot might not be breaking any boundaries with its dishes, but it is serving up well proportioned classics a lot closer to home than the real deal.

Riviera, 23 St James St, London SW1A 1HA

Posted Date
May 6, 2024 in Love London by Laurel