As a British guy there’s normally a time each month when you have a craving for ‘stodge’ – an affectionate word for British cuisine and it’s carbohydrate filled goodness. You know the drill, a full roast beef roast dinner, sausage and mash, eton mess, things Mummy used to make on a Sunday afternoon. Nowhere in Dubai fits the bill better than the Rivington Grill at Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai. The food served here is traditional British, served with only the flare, quality and passion Mummy could hope to achieve after many hundreds of hours watching Gary Rhodes cooking TV shows. Jumeirah Restaurants and Caprice Restaurant Group have expanded the brand to the beautiful Madinat Jumeirah and I paid a visit.
Upon entry there is a small reception area and a long white corridor which has a long bar, this leads to the main restaurant and an upstairs bar accessible via the stairs. The smell of smoke was quite overpowering in the upstairs bar, so I decided to take my table straight away. The decor has a nod towards seaside Britiain, with white panelling and modernised with quirky neon signs. One thing you will notice that the low ceiling, open kitchen and bare floors leads to a huge amount of ambient background noise, which in turn prompts diners to increase their noise. The whole joint is very loud, not somewhere for an intimate romantic meal – but that’s not the target market of the Rivington.
I was sat at the window overlooking the waterways of Madinat Jumeirah and a menu was promptly delivered. On this occasion the service was slow; I’d pre-ordered the Beef Wellington (requires 24hrs notice) and flagged a server to confirm this. Drinks and starter ordered and wellington confirmed I waited, and waited. The starter of Scotch Egg eventually arrived some 35minutes later, but I have to say was worth the wait. The crispy crumb of the outside was perfectly matched with the runny egg yoke; and sausage meat tasty.
Once consumed the plate did lay in front of me until removal was requested, and a second drinks order was placed. Another 30minutes passed and the show stopper arrived, Beef Wellington. The portion is enough for two diners with a healthy appetite and comes complete with all the trimmings -roast vegetables and an unlimited supply of gravy. The beef was of excellent quality and cooked perfectly, the bottom pastry was a little soggy for my tastes though; this may be due to sitting for too long on the pass.
After making a considerable dent in the beef, I decided to consider myself beaten and look at the desert menu. All the usual classics were present, but this time a sweet and fruity contrast was required after the previous course. Eton Mess was order and delivered in a timely fashion, a nice take on the classic with long tubes of beautifully cooked meringue and torte raspberry sauce.
The Rivington has become a brand for the ex-pats and comes with high expectations of location, service and food quality. The Madinat Jumeirah ticks all the boxes of it’s sister; just not the service one yet.