CHESHIRE: RIVA Hale bounces back from lockdown with new menu and wine list to match
Jessica Ward | 29th July 2020
Situated right at the heart of the beautiful village of Hale in Cheshire, Riva is known for offering a great choice of food and drink in relaxed, casual and comfortable surroundings.
This particular review comes to you with somewhat of a blank canvas, as it was my very first trip to Riva. I had seen that they have an active profile on Instagram, and I imagined them to have somewhat of a bistro vibe. I checked out the menu prior to arrival (I mean, who doesn’t?) and I imagined a British/French style twist, probably due to the already concocted notion I had created in my head.
When we arrived, the streets of Hale were unusually quiet. Although it was a weeknight (and the football was on) Hale’s food and drink scene is usually pretty vibrant. However, as we approached Riva, there were a few tables occupied outside the restaurant and as we made our way inside the atmosphere was a little brighter.
The interior was bright and airy, where tropical meets industrial with a cool and comfortable modern feel. It was in fact less bistro and more pub meets modern dining. A place where you could happily visit dressed up or dressed down and not feel at all out of place.
Now let’s talk about the important part, the food. We began our evening with a seafood board for the table. This consisted of giant pan seared scallops, smoked haddock and salmon fishcakes, garlic chilli prawns, fresh smoked salmon on a bed of salad and crab served on croutons with aioli and capers.
We were pleasantly surprised by the size of the seafood board, and the quality of all the dishes in front of us by far surpassed our expectations. I would highly recommend ordering the seafood board as a sharing sharing starter between four. My personal favourite was the scallops, they were generously sized and cooked perfectly.
For our mains we ordered the Riva Burger – an 8oz prime minced steak with sliced tomato, gherkin, lettuce, red onion, melted mature cheddar and of course bacon. This was served with homemade coleslaw and hand cut chips (of which I couldn’t get enough of). I have to admit this was one of the better burgers I have had, the meat was tender and juicy, and the ratio of toppings were spot on. The chips really were next level, this dish comes with a choice of fries, sweet potato fries or hand cut chips; always go for the chips.
We also tried the Chicken Ballontine with Parma Ham. This was wrapped in Parma Ham and stuffed with sundried tomato and asparagus and served with a blue cheese sauce, fondant potatoes, shimeji mushrooms and kale.
By the end of our main courses we were about fit to burst, however, for the sake of our VIVA readers we pressed onto dessert – by this point the diet was well out the window, but totally worth it.
The Eton Mess cheesecake and the classic Sticky Toffee pudding came next. The cheesecake was fruity, sweet and refreshing, but for me the Sticky Toffee pudding was the clear winner. The sponge was so light and soft, and the rich toffee sauce and creamy vanilla ice cream really brought the dessert together. I have to admit I do love my desserts and it is true what they say, you really do have a separate stomach for dessert.
VIVA Verdict: Overall the food and the service were spot on. The staff are warm and friendly and very knowledgeable when it comes to the menu. If you aren’t sure what to choose, just ask them. Most importantly, always leave enough room for dessert. Especially for the Sticky Toffee pudding.
*The new Riva wine list is out today, after a full year in the making. To check out all the menus and to book a table head to www.rivahale.co.uk