Raving About Riva! - Riva, Bothwell.

Celebrating a birthday is always fun, regardless if it's your own or not.  For my dear sister Sharon's birthday, she decided that we would try Riva in Bothwell.  Having never eaten there myself, I was intrigued to see what they had to offer.  I usually check out a menu before I go to a restaurant, however I chanced this and went blind!

Riva is on Bothwell main street, with a beautiful glass facade that lets you have a look in to the warm and cosy setting that is the restaurant.  They also have a beautiful mezzanine level for private functions.

The restaurant itself is very classic inside.  Mahogany tables and chairs all neatly slotted in, and also some comfortable booths that had their own air of privacy about them.  As there is a lot of glass both on the facade and the side of the building, the restaurant feels very open and spacious, yet cosy at the same time.  It's a very nice effect that gives the restaurant an elegant feel to it.

The waiting staff were very polite and friendly, but not too over enthusiastic, which I like.  They gave us plenty of time to peruse the menu (trust me, you will need at least ten minutes to decide!) and get our drinks served.  My mother enjoyed a long vodka, whilst I went for a good old glass of rose wine.  The food offered on the menu all sounded incredible, and I am not exaggerating when I say that we needed time to decide!  To have a look at the menu, click here.

My mother decided to have the 'zuppa del giorno' which was beetroot and onion soup (the soup of the day).  Following this, she chose to have the 'branzino alla griglia' - sea bass with creamy chive potatoes and a pesto drizzle.  I opted for 'mozzarella e peperoni caprese': fresh mozzarella with grilled peppers and a pesto oil dressing.  For my main, I went for 'risotto alla giardiniera', a risotto laced with garden vegetables in a tomato and garlic sauce.  The birthday girl decided to start with the 'pesce cocktail' which was a salmon and prawn cocktail.  She also decided to have the sea bass with my mother.  Finally, my sister's other half Mark chose the 'pollo e chorizo' skewers - chicken and chorizo skewers with an aioli dip and salad; For his main course he went for 'campagne insalate', or to the common Lanarkshire dweller, a goats cheese salad.  

Beetroot and Onion Soup

My mother let me try the soup, and I was surprised.  After a stint working in a supermarket and having dropped a couple of jars of pickled beetroot, I expected this to taste like vinegar.  Surprisingly very mellow and peppery, I would have willingly ate a bowl of this soup.  It is also a lovely shade of pink, don't you think?

Chicken and Chorizo Skewers with Aoili dip

The strange thing about the chicken and chorizo skewers was that they didn't actually come on a skewer.  This is not a big deal, but I did find it slightly odd!  Nevertheless, the plate was cleared and Mark thoroughly enjoyed his starter.  The chicken was tender and juicy, and it did smell amazing.

Salmon and prawn cocktail

When Sharon's salmon and prawn cocktail was put down, I knew instantly that I wanted it.  There was literally a heap of fresh smoked salmon, stacked into neat thinly sliced layers.  The prawns were already coated in a seafood sauce, and bundled on top of the salmon.  I was lucky enough to snaffle a taste of the salmon, and it really was fantastic.  It was so fresh and literally tore apart with no force.  I never tried the prawns, however a clear plate speaks a thousand words!

Mozzarella and grilled peppers

Having a few issues still with food (heartbreak will do that to you!) I decided to go for something lighter and easy to swallow.  The mozzarella was fresh, creamy and light.  Grilled peppers added to this mix made for a light taste and it went down easily.  The pesto drizzle was a nice added touch and did really give it a unique flavouring.  It was slightly bland, and as a fan of rich foods it hasn't been my favourite starter.  I did enjoy it though, and ate most of it.  Upon return however, I would definitely go for the salmon and prawn cocktail!

Risotto with garden vegetables in a tomato and garlic sauce
The risotto. Oh my.  Delicious.  Laced with al dente peppers, soft and sweet cherry tomatoes and tiny broccoli florettes, it was the perfect comfort food.  The tomato and garlic sauce was rich and flavoursome, and the risotto rice was thick and cooked to perfection.  It really was a beautiful dish, and surprisingly for me a vegetarian one! As always the portion was massive, so I was unable to finish it.  I do recommend that if you order risotto, make sure you are asking for a half portion to avoid waste!

Goats cheese salad
Mark is to goats cheese as salt is to the sea.  Funnily enough, even with this salad he said that there was a bit too much goats cheese for him.  Did he clear it? But of course!  Soft and creamy goats cheese on a bed of lettuce, red onion and tomato and drizzled with a balsamic vinegar dressing.  Simple yet satisfying.

Sea Bass on a Bed of Mash
Sea bass on a bed of creamy chive potatoes, served with seasonal  vegetables

The sea bass was an absolute delight, and again I want to order this upon my return.  The fish flaked off easily, yet the skin was cooked to a beautiful golden crust infused with a buttery flavour.  The creamy mashed potatoes were infused with chives, and really were an asset to the flaky fish.  The medley of vegetables were glistening in a sweet finish and smelled absolutely divine.  This made for one happy birthday girl!

With full tummies and a slight warmth from my two glasses of wine, we decided against desserts (although they all sounded mouth watering) and asked for the bill.  For two glasses of wine, a long vodka, two cokes, four starters and four mains, the bill was amazingly just around £90.  The food was delicious, the staff were lovely and the prices are pretty good for a restaurant somewhere as upmarket as Bothwell.  I do recommend a visit to Riva, as long as you plan to take me with you.

Contact Details:

1 Main Street
G71 8RD

Tel: 01698 850888

Wheelchair access: Yes

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