Rivington Grill, Shoreditch
28-30 Rivington Street
020 7729 7053
by Des Ayuno
D was taking me out for a proper treat, over my protestations. “I think we need a bit of swank,” he said, but also directed me to the website, to show he’d not be forced to extend his overdraft in swank’s pursuit. Under a discreet Caprice Holdings header, it read like a Waitrose ad – Peter Gott’s bacon, Dereensillagh smoked salmon – and shared the same queasily attractive mix of aspirational luxury and corporate ruthlessness.
Come Friday morning, its spacious, linen-bedecked tables, glinting glassware and long wooden bar set a vaguely Parisian tone – as, regrettably, did the service. Winsome dark-haired waitresses ignored us completely and flirted with the only other customer, a besuited gentleman accessorised with the FT Wealth Quarterly. When they finally arrived, D’s kippers were enormous, sumptuous and utterly worth the wait. My Full English, though in its visual perfection could have illustrated Jamie’s Lovely Jubbly Best Breakfast Ever recipe, was mostly comprised of disappointing near misses. Mr Gott’s bacon tasted of very little, as did a juicy-looking sausage. A giant portion of field mushrooms and mean half tomato were caked in black pepper whose coarse texture was presumably meant to signify freshly ground but whose dusty taste indicated otherwise. Thankfully, the gloriously runny fried egg swam in puddles of delicious yellow grease and the black pudding was a crumbly, crispy joy.
I suppose I have no right to demand finely tuned culinary perfection from an Ivy outpost. And I’m sure that, on a Saturday morning, full of chatter, clinking silverware and the kind of people who aspire to a membership of Shoreditch House, the atmosphere approaches convivial. But for a posh joint whose USP is impeccable service, it’s just a bit crap. Go to the Wolseley instead.