Let’s just get the thing we loved most about dining at The Rivington Grill out of the way first – the fact that it was busy at 7.30pm. Now, we don’t know about you, but we like to be eating by 8, finished by 9.30 and struggling with indigestion by 10, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with most folk in the UAE, and we often find ourselves woefully sitting in empty restaurants at 7.30pm, the lights on at full glare and the staff practising dance routines in the middle of the floor.
So, yes, this is a bustling little gastro pub that boasts contemporary yet elegant decor – we love the neon word art – and the minute you step into it, you really do feel like you could be in London (and as much as we love our city, sometimes that’s fun).
Seated by our friendly South African waitress, we perused the simple menu, which comprised Brit cuisine’s greatest hits, and after much deliberation, we decided to order the Seared scallops with samphire and tomato vinaigrette (mostly because our waitress told us it’s the most popular dish), while our better half ordered Devilled chicken livers on toast (he’s from South Africa, it’s his soul food).
Before we’d even dissected the fact Mariah is the new judge on Idol, our dishes were ready – the three large scallops were juicy, and the minted peas and salty samphire (a marsh vegetable that’s like tiny asparagus) added interest. Meanwhile, the happy customer consuming the chicken livers gave a “just as good as back home” endorsement.
Time for the main event, the Sea trout, fennel, samphire and citrus salad piqued our interest, but the Rivington burger served with Welsh rarebit and shoestring fries won out, with our dining partner opting for a rare Fillet with hand-cut chips. The steak was good, and the béarnaise sauce was fine-dining style, but it was the burger that wowed.
A homemade brioche bread, encasing juicy meat, with pickle to add punch, and the cheesy, mustardy Welsh rarebit sauce bringing zing: the best burger we’ve had in Dubai. We were now very full, but it would’ve been criminal not to order the Sticky toffee pudding – the caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream and very large slab of pudding was dreamy.
Our companion opted for the Willy Wonka-ish Mint chocolate crackle ice cream, an intensely minty sundae with crackling candy (rather alarming at first!). We left The Rivington full, informed about new ingredients and with candy dancing on our tongue. And the best bit? We felt like we’d had a bustling night out, but were home by 10.30pm.