April 14, 2016 / Leave a Comment
I’ve wanted to check out Rivington Grill for some time, and having just left a fab cooking demo at Bloomie’s Kitchen feeling all inspired in the culinary sense, it seemed as good an opportunity as any. And extremely convenient to boot, being located just across the bridge from Dubai mall in Souk al Bahar.
In my opinion, some Souk al Bahar properties really dine out on their fountain view balconies, excuse the pun, and at times the food can take a back seat to the enviable views. The whole place screams, well, ‘tourist trap’, somewhat. I was eager to see whether RG would break that mould and wow us with amazing cuisine.
Upon being seated at our table on the balcony (hey, when in Rome, right?) we perused the menu and I for one, was left feeling very underwhelmed. The contents didn’t inspire me or get the tastebuds going – it all seemed pretty boring. I tossed up the idea of changing venues but decided to just pick something and get it over with. The joys of being a fussy foodie!
I have to say the oh-so-popular balconies have at present lost their sparkle in the daytime. Our lunchtime vista was more construction site than world-famous sight. Not too appealing unless you’re really into building materials. One upside though, RG provides water (complimentary) for the table. You forget this is pretty standard outside Dubai – it’s definitely a plus now the heat is starting to creep back in. A loaf of bread with butter to share soon followed the water, but really needed to be put in the oven to give it a that satisfying crunch. Also can we please ditch the table salt shakers? Ok, I’m a crazy foodie (and salt addict), but I really think restaurants charging these prices need to provide rock/sea salt, it just doesn’t compare. End rant.
The menu is what my dining companion calls standard British fare. Apologies to any Brits currently reading for my earlier ‘boring’ comment – food of any background and origin can still sound amazing on a menu in my opinion, so it’s nothing against UK food. I chose to start with the soup of the day (it’s pretty rare I resort to soup on a menu, unless I’m flying) which was pea and mint, and the steak tartare to follow. FYI they do have a two course lunch menu promo at 100dhs and 120dhs for three, but the menu didn’t really float my boat on this occasion so I ordered a la carte.
A piping hot (and pretty hefty) serving of pea and mint soup (45dhs) winged it’s way to our table, garnished with a dollop of what I’m guessing was creme fraiche. It worked well with the soup, which was a little thin on it’s own, but balanced nicely with this addition. It’s a good thing I like salt though, as this dish had it by the bucketload. When a dish is feeling a tad too salty for me it’s always a concern as my salt threshold is much higher than the normal diner. The soup was pretty tasty though.
The saltiness was distinctly noticeable again in the tartare. The plating was pretty disappointing, and the dish was pretty linear. It might have been a nice sharing dish to have had amongst others, but eating the whole thing felt very one note and dragged a bit. And I had the entree sized portion (80g for 80dhs).
On our way out, it looked like the deserted interior of the restaurant had a bit more personality than the outdoor balcony, where all sense of style had evaporated like water out of your glass on a hot Dubai summer’s day. The al fresco set up is very generic – standard rattan furniture (alright, to cope with the heat I suppose?) and strange rubber placemats that had a shudder inducing texture. The staff all make an effort to greet and farewell you as you pass by, which was nice.
Would I return? Sadly no, this just isn’t the type of food that excites me. If you have guests visiting that are scared by spices, crazy combos and molecular craziness, this is probably a great bet to keep them happy and full while showing them some of the sights.