Restaurant Review: London Riviera
London Riviera is the capital’s latest pop-up venue, taking centre stage on the doorstep of City Hall on More London. What better backdrop to a fantastic summer date than being on the river in the shadow of Tower Bridge? It’s definitely a great spot to ride the current heat wave. Any date would be thrilled to be taken there, as was mine.
The main building is a wall-plant-covered block with a funkadelic bar on one side and food service points on the other. At the back is what can best be described as a lounge area, and there’s an eating area to the side. The bar area is packed with vibrant Adirondack-style chairs in bright multi-colours, and double lounge beds straight out of a New York rooftop pool bar. There are flamingos as side tables and even a crocodile for a table. This place is as giddy as a funfair in summer, with a clientele that has your eyes darting all over the place. If I hadn’t taken a date there, there were plenty of women present who I would like to have been on a date with. Sorry, did I say that out loud? Needless to say, I was more than pleased with the date I had. Have I redeemed myself?
The cuisine here is Levantine (Middle Eastern) street food. Our waiter Iskren suggested to my date the lamb with deep shawarma spices. My date was quite hesitant and professed to not being keen on lamb, but Iskren promised it would be a melt-in-the-mouth dish. Now, I’m always worried when people promise things – it normally ends badly – but my date was most impressed and said it was delicious. Result. I had zucchini and feta fritters and halloumi salad, and we shared a pot of squid rings. We also had a selection of flavoursome dips. It was all very tasty, washed down with a bottle of white wine.
This is the first London venture by the Hewitt combo, Patricia and Barry, and I don’t think it will be their last – these are definitely restaurateurs to watch out for. They clearly have an eye for style and are not afraid of putting it out there.
Two cocktails, squid rings, lamb shoulder, courgette and feta fritters, halloumi salad, dip and a bottle of wine set us back £70. My date commented that she felt like she’d been on holiday for the evening. (I did ask if that counted as two dates.) As Rita Ora sang, this place is “hot right now” – impress (or charm) the pants off someone and take them to London Riviera.