Restaurant Review: Rivington Bar & Grill, Souk Madinat Jumeirah

If one wasn’t enough, a second Rivington has now opened in Dubai. So how does it fare, and does it compare?
Friday , 18 May 2012
Enjoy fab views of the Madinat's waterways
Enjoy fab views of the Madinat's waterways
The decor echoes the brasserie feel of the original
The decor echoes the brasserie feel of the original

Rivington Bar & Grill
Address: Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai
Times: Open 6pm until late Sunday to Thursday and 12pm until late Friday and Saturday

When Rivington Grill first opened at Souk Al Bahar nearly three-and-a- half years ago, hardly anyone had heard of the British restaurant, Brits included, despite its original Shoreditch location. It has since taken Dubai by storm with its electric atmosphere – as explained in our December issue simply by “mastering the art of excellent service”. So it comes as no surprise to see a second location open across town at Madinat Jumeirah’s souk, replacing Moroccan eatery Shoo Fee Ma Fee.

With much larger premises right next to The Agency and main dining room aside, the new concept also houses a dedicated bar and lounge on the first floor, as well as a large private function space on the rooftop. The interior echoes a similar simple and minimal brasserie feel as the original location – well that’s what happens when you use the same designer, Martin Brudnizki, also responsible for The Ivy Dubai. White-clothed tables, bright cobalt blue soft furnishings and wooden panelling set against white-washed walls, and funky artwork create a convivial and relaxed ambience. Terraced tables overlook the Madinat’s waterways – it may not have views of the magical fountains, but you can peek across to the iconic Burj Al Arab.

The back-to-basics British menu prides itself on simple dishes using high quality seasonal ingredients at reasonable prices. Rest assured, all your favourite dishes, such as the seared scallops starter from Souk Al Bahar, feature here as well – just remember the menu changes regularly to allow for seasonality. At Gourmet HQ, we’ve been begging for the return of the mighty seared beef and Yorkshire pudding salad, so we’re glad to see it back on the menu. A rich potted duck with homemade sweet piccalilli starter is a clever new addition, but be warned, it’s a sizeable appetiser – so you may want to move onto a light fish main of butterflied seabass.Otherwise, a new beef Wellington dish has popped up – perfect for sharing – and the Rivington pies and steaks make very popular fare. As for desserts, the banoffee pot is hands down a favourite, as is the chocolate brownie, whose recipe we feature here. Instead of a traditional clotted cream accompaniment made using Cornish milk, which would be a challenge to import here because of its short shelf life, you will find it served with praline ice cream and a dusting of white chocolate.

Last but not least, under the helm of General Manager James Worthington, who has moved across to the Madinat, we’re pleased to report that even in the first month of operation, the service is as slick as its older sister. We conversed joyfully and giggled with our waiter, made even more enjoyable without the constant upselling so prevalent across this city. The staff clearly live and breathe the neon characters inscribed in the artwork splashed across a white-washed wall, “Live, Love, Laugh.”

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