Test Drives

Test Driving Rivea at the Bulgari's chestnut menu

There are many reasons to love autumn: not least the bounty of seasonal produce on offer, from pumpkins to chestnuts. To celebrate - Rivea London, the Alain Ducasse restaurant in the swanky Bulgari Hotel, is putting on a special chestnut themed menu for the next month.

It might be a high-end place, but they've kept a sense of humour: every dinner begins with a game - a tray of brightly coloured dips and grissini - you can guess the flavours or there's a little chart hidden underneath, along with an excellent selection of breads and shards of socca.

For the special menu, head chef Alexandre Nicolas has designed four quite different dishes, starting with a silky smooth chestnut veloute with braised celery and pumpkin, followed by a highly impressive pasta course of paccheri, with chestnut prepared two ways and a generous mound of wild mushrooms. 

There's a choice of mains, including seared scallops on chestnut puree with roasted pumpkin and hazelnut, again impeccably cooked, and for dessert - a 'composition' of caramelised cubes of pear, topped with chestnut ice cream, a buttery walnut crumble, pear sorbet and paper thin chestnut tuilles.

We couldn't resist trying a few of the other desserts, and although it was impossible to choose a favourite, we'd recommend the 'Pot of quince and apple' - a kind of deconstructed tarte tatin with goats milk and dark caramel ice creams and little buttery sable biscuits on the side. There were more home made hazelnut chocolate biscuits with coffee, and dark chocolate mendiants, which left us almost too full to move.

Service was friendly and expertly managed by Marie Lacaze: we might not often venture into the glitzy streets of Knightsbridge, but we'll definitely be back.

The chestnut menu, four courses for £45 paired with a matching glass of Lirac La Reine des Boise is available at Rivea London in the Bulgari Hotel,171 Knightsbridge SW7 1DW until 15th November. Find out more about Rivea


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