For my birthday dinner, I decided to try somewhere new. Riva in Bothwell, South Lanarkshire is somewhere I’ve always wanted to try but somehow just haven’t. I saw plenty Facebook check-ins and people talking about it, so I knew I’d enjoy it!
Bothwell is a small town outside Glasgow and boasts a gorgeous high street that rivals the typical Lanarkshire town centre. Bothwell is known for its affluent inhabitants, and I find that this is reflected in the high street! Riva is number 1 on this high street and you definitely look as you drive/walk past. It has windows that show the entire front end of the restaurant and the mezzanine level, which hosted a private function when I was there.
Inside, the restaurant is fairly small and cosy but is decorated in a modern fashion. The striped booth seats match the theme of the menu, website and their Facebook. These stripes are matched with simple stone and wooden walls and floors. The tables were simply set with cutlery and wine glasses.
This looks like a big pile of salmon, but what it actually is, is the ‘Pesce Salad’ which entails a salad quilted with smoked salmon and topped with tiger prawns in a Marie Rose sauce and a wedge of lemon. It was absolutely beautiful – everything was fresh and the Marie Rose sauce was really creamy and tangy. It was two weeks ago I was there and I cannot remember for the life of me what was mixed through the sauce. It’s green and tasty though! For me, a good salad always contains cucumber and tomato which this didn’t, but luckily I forked some from a plate nearby!
My sister ordered the ‘Mozzarella e Peperoni Caprese’ – slices of fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes, grilled red and yellow peppers with a pesto drizzle. This was a beautiful, refreshing dish as it was served cold and was very light. For me personally, it was quite boring and I doubt I’d have finished it if I’d ordered it. What I would love to do next time, and my sister agrees, is to order my salmon starter as well as this and we could trade half to mix the flavours. The salmon with the grilled peppers in pesto was beautiful!
My other half ordered his beloved chicken and chorizo combination ‘Pollo e Chorizo’ which was chicken and chorizo skewers (without the skewers!) in a kind of smokey, barbecue marinade. It was served with a chunky salad and aioli dip (garlic mayonnaise). It was really nice – very strong flavours from both the chicken and the chorizo which is rare; usually I just taste chorizo! The meat was lovely and tender, even the chorizo, which can be quite tough.
What is this bowl of crazy? It’s the ‘Zuppa del Giorno’, the soup of the day which was something new: Beetroot & Red Onion Soup! When my mum ordered it, I was very excited to see and try it. When it arrived, I personally wasn’t keen on the colour. It looks a bit like pakora sauce to me! The taste was very surprising. She asked for pepper and it was the first taste I identified, but then I felt it bore a resemblance to French onion soup, but much sweeter. It was really nice and mild!
The goats cheese salad AKA ‘Campagna’ – is pretty much what it says on the tin! What was different from the many other salads we’ve ordered was the portion size – it was very generous! Two creamy, grilled goats cheese medallions on a bed of salad dressed in a balsamic reduction. He said that the extra cheese made it heavier and more filling, but given that he hoovered the plate clean, I can’t say for certain that was a complaint or that it was too much!
My sister ordered ‘Risotto all Giardiniera’ which is a tomato and garlic risotto with mixed vegetables. She really enjoyed it, but it was such a huge portion she only managed half of it so I’d bear that in mind when ordering – maybe avoid a starter or share it. I tasted some and for me personally it was just bland. I’d have it as part of tapas or as a side; I couldn’t eat it on its own and genuinely enjoy it. It was good with a wee piece of goats cheese!
I ordered seabass – it is one of my favourite kinds of fish, not that I have a single favourite! ‘Branzino alla Griglia’, as it appears on the menu, is such a beautiful, dreamy dish. The seabass is grilled and placed atop spring onion fondant mashed potato. The dish is then covered in a creamy pesto sauce. Words fail me to describe it to be honest. The sweet fish, with soft oniony potato and then this mellow, creamy, herby sauce. It was heavenly. I’m now craving it, just thinking about it! My mum ordered it too and we gave each other agreeable nods intermittently throughout the meal!
The seabass was served with a small bowl of assorted vegetables: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrot, Courgette and Potato drizzled in oil or maybe butter. It was a lovely, sweet mixture to accompany the fish!
We were full by the end and didn’t have any dessert. I was on the fence and was hoping someone would try to convince me to order the Profiteroles. Sadly not, and we paid our bill. With hindsight, that was wise. There is NO way I’d be alive if I’d eaten more! For two Cokes, two rosé wines and a long vodka in addition to this wonderful spread, the bill came to £90, or £22.50 per head which is very reasonable! I will definitely be back, and I doubt I’ll amend my order for next time!
1 Main Street,