Riviera opened its doors in April this year, serving southern French cuisine with a range of dishes from seafood to succulent cuts of meat, as well as a whole menu of cocktails and wines.
Riviera is located on St James’ Street, just a short walk from Green Park and the famous Fortnum and Mason department store.
The building has escalators as well as a lift to reach the upstairs restaurant, and downstairs there is also a lounge area where you can go if you want to grab a drink.The upstairs restaurant features a beautiful, elegant décor inspired by the south of France, with full windows offering views of London.
On weekdays, Riviera offers guests a relaxed and more casual dining experience for anyone looking for dinner after work or a quiet meal in the evenings.
But on the weekends, the setting becomes more of a lively scene for people looking for an evening out, with a DJ playing music.
I went with a friend after work, and after taking a walk down Piccadilly Circus festooned with Christmas Lights, breathing in the cold London air, it was safe to say I was more than ready for some good food and a drink.
And I will say, Riviera certainly delivered on that.
Cocktails and drinks
Riviera has a wide selection of their own house specials, which have fun names like the “Sexy French Popcorn” made with vanilla vodka and chocolate, which I didn’t get but I was tempted.
However, the bartender introduced himself and offered to make whatever cocktail we fancied if we wanted a classic like a Mojito or a Martini.
The bartender made me something off-menu based on my preferences. I was presented with a “Clover Club”, a punchy drink made with gin, raspberry juice and raspberry liqueur.
Meanwhile my friend ordered one of the cocktails on the menu. She ordered the Paradis de Mangue, which was made with mango vodka, vanilla liquor, passion fruit liqueur and an array of fruity juices topped with white chocolate foam.
A lot of their cocktails really play on sweet, fruity flavours, so if you have a sweet tooth their cocktail menu really does hit the spot.
Their staff are also incredibly knowledgeable about wines, and recommended me and my friend some great pairings to go with our main meals.
The menu itself has a range of Mediterranean dishes, with some very traditional French options like Ratatouille, as well as seafood like lobster and of course steaks.
For starters my friend and I both got one of their Brioche starters. They have a range of different options including meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes.
The concept of these are small, sweet brioche buns stuffed with a filling. I tried their Lobster Brioche and my friend tried the Ratatouille and Feta Cheese Brioche.
I have to say they were so delicious, the bread was sweet and soft with a good crunch on the outside and the lobster meat just melted in your mouth.
It was one of those dishes that I’d probably order time and time again if I were to revisit.
For mains I ordered their Grilled Beef Fillet and Black Pepper Sauce with a side of fries and a very delicious Pinot Noir.
My friend ordered the Grilled Octopus with Chimichurri and Cauliflower Puree with a side of mashed potatoes.
The beef was very well cooked with a really flavourful sauce and a very generous portion of chips. Everything had such good attention to detail, from the little garnishes on the food to the finishes on the cocktails.
Riviera doesn’t have a dessert menu to read, however they do have a small selection of desserts available including an Apple Tarte Tatin, a Crème Brulée, and a chocolate cake which is also gluten free.
I went for the Crème Brulée, which utterly took me by surprise when I was presented with what I can safely say was the largest Crème Brulée I’ve ever seen.
We could have easily shared one between us after so much food. It also came with these delicious shortbread pieces on top and it was one of the best Crème Brulées I’ve ever tried.
All in all, I thought Riviera offered a really great place to relax and enjoy the meal, the staff were so attentive and knowledgeable about the menu and it was a pleasure to dine there.