The Riveria

Restaurant Review by Si Hall and Nicky Rigby-Smith

The Riveria, Hillbark Hotel

The Riviera restaurant is located within the wonderful 5 star Hillbark Hotel, offering a modern yet relaxed culinary experience with influences of the Côte d’Azur. The restaurant is headed by Chef Terry Davies.

The Riviera Restaurant is chic; a place where enjoying exquisite food in a relaxed atmosphere is the main focus.

Warmly welcomed by James Little (Restaurant Manager), he presented us with the menu and the extensive wine list, recommending a Sauvignon Blanc, Domaine de La Baume which was reasonably priced at around £20 per bottle.

Once seated at Rory McElroy’s favourite table, we were presented with the amuse bouche. This consisted of a selection of warm breads including white truffle bread, beef tomatoes, fresh lemon, oil and seasoning – a nice Mediterranean touch. We opted to sample a number of dishes from the small and large plates menu. This offered an inspired yet simple and delicious interpretation of French Mediterranean, Ligurian and Niçoise cuisine.

With recommendations from James, we started with the small plates menu – the Salade de Crabe et Avocat (Crab & Avocado Salad) £8.00, Jambon de Pata Negra (Pata Negra Ham) £13.00 and Poulpe Finement Tranché à l’Huile de Citron (Thinly Sliced Octopus in Lemon Oil) £7.00.

Each dish was beautifully presented with a contemporary twist – the octopus was extraordinary and a real surprise for the non-fish lover in our group – as it was not fishy in the least.

The Pata Negra Ham was excellent – not overly salty and a very generous portion. James explained that the ham came from pigs fed purely on acorns, accounting for the subtle but present nutty flavour. For our large plates we opted for Loup de Mer (Fillets of Sea Bass) £18.00, Blanc de Poulet (Breast of Goosnargh Chicken) £14.00. Both dishes were accompanied with Pommes de Terre Lyonnaise (Lyonnaise Potatoes) £4.00 and Brocolis (Steamed Broccoli) £4.00.

Having ordered our large plates, we were joined by the restaurants’ sommelier, Duncan. He recommended a bottle of Miraval, a grenache Rose, priced at £44.00 – the vineyard owners being the world famous Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie. If you think you don’t like Rosé, think again! Excellent.

Large plates – the seabass was cooked to perfection – buttery soft. The chicken – very moist served with a wild mushroom sauce. Both dishes were excellent.

For dessert we selected a classic Crème Brulée à la Vanille (Vanilla Creme Brûlée) £7.00, and the Sorbet de Citron avec Vodka Glacée (Lemon Sorbet with Iced Vodka) £6.00. Fromage (Cheese) £8.00, served with figs and quince jelly. Superb.

If you’ve not been then you really should. Hillbark Hotel is not just for events and weddings, it’s open to non-guests, seven days a week.

Overall, The Riviera Restaurant is excellent, set in beautiful surroundings with attentive staff, amazing food, great wines and is surprisingly brilliant value for money. The restaurant is perfect for couples, families and children… in a relaxed environment. We would highly recommend a visit anytime of the week and weekend.

Full marks.

To book, call: 0151 625 2400