What we really think about new London celeb-adored restaurant Riviera

Stepping into Riviera, the latest addition to Emerald Hospitality Group’s portfolio, I was instantly transported to the sun-soaked coastlines of the South of France. Located on St James’s Street in Mayfair, this high-end dining concept has taken over the iconic Sake no Hana site, promising to be one of the capital’s most noteworthy openings of 2023.

The restaurant is divided into three distinct areas: the main dining room, a spacious outdoor terrace, and a ground floor bar and lounge. The elegant decor captures the essence of the French Riviera, drawing inspiration from the glamorous shores of Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Nice, and Antibes.

Riviera‘s menu is designed for sharing, offering an exquisite selection of starters that immediately tantalize the taste buds. I savoured the burrata and roasted tomatoes, which combined the sweetness of slowly roasted tomatoes with the delicate creaminess of fresh burrata. The beef carpaccio with truffle sauce and sweet mustard croutons was equally impressive, showcasing the very best flavours of chic Southern French restaurants.

Moving on to the main course, Riviera didn’t disappoint. The Veal Chop, marinated in Dijon mustard, was succulent and expertly prepared. For those seeking a luxurious meat option, the supreme Chateau Briand was a true indulgence. The seafood selection, sourced from the shores of the Cote d’Azur, was outstanding. The Lobster with Yuzu Butter provided a delightful blend of rich flavors, while the Loup de Mer Papillote showcased the delicate taste of sea bass cooked to perfection.

Saving room for dessert was a must, and my wife and I were rewarded with exceptional creations. The Tarte Tatin, a classic French pastry, was executed flawlessly, delivering a perfect balance of caramelized apples and buttery pastry. The Pistache Millefeuille, with its delicate layers of puff pastry and pistachio cream, was a true work of art and deserved its own Instagram page.

The bar at Riviera was a standout feature, offering an extensive selection of carefully curated drinks in gloriously pretty glasses. The wine list featured a variety of high-end wines and Champagnes from France and beyond, while the sommelier beckoned wine enthusiasts into an intimate wine cellar to savor exceptional pairings alongside delectable tapas. The cocktail menu was equally impressive, with options like the Riviera Elixir, a bold blend of Port Wine, Spicy Rum, and Cinnamon, or the Coconut Breeze and Peach Caviar for those seeking fruity flavors.

Every aspect of Riviera has been thoughtfully considered to create an immersive experience. From the 70’s chic golden hues in the entrance hall, reminiscent of the sunsets in St Tropez, to the artwork adorning the walls, brought from the personal French collection of the Zandi brothers who own this elite group of restaurants, the attention to detail is evident. The open plan kitchen, with its display of fresh seafood, evokes the ambiance of a traditional French villa, while the hand-painted murals in the bathrooms transport guests to the depths of the sea and showcase iconic locations of the French Riviera.

Riviera Restaurant is a culinary gem that effortlessly captures the elegance and glamour of the South of France in the heart of London. In all my years of restaurant reviewing I have never come across such an exciting menu showcasing such a variety of glorious dishes. With its sharing-style menu, impeccable service, and attention to detail, this ultra chic eatery offers an unforgettable dining experience that will leave you yearning for the sun-drenched shores of the Mediterranean, or feeling satisfied enough eating this restaurant’s divine food, right here in London Town.

Mitra Msaad

Editor in Chief