Rivington Grill, Shoreditch
To those who descend on Hoxton Square with beer-thirst and a desire for hard and fast fun, you’ve found the right place. To those looking to date in the area, but like a little vermouth with their vodka and a little garnish with their meat, then Rivington Grill is the classy spot for you.
Date-wise, there are no bells and whistles here, just a pretty, modern brasserie with white table clothes, white walls, navy blue awnings and polished wooden furnishings. The light and airy room peaks in the summer when it flings open its doors to embrace the breeze and catch the weekend chatter from the pavements. One of many children of the Caprice Group (The Ivy, Le Caprice, 34), Rivington is the slightly rebellious sibling who decided to break from his wealthy roots and move East. But when he got there he looked around and found himself speed dialing the family decorators to spruce things up.
The much applauded Rivington burger is worth risking date decorum for. Unlike the modishly sloppy offerings from East London’s pop-up burger kings (Patty & Bun, Lucky Chip) this meal plays it straight. Not a drip too much sauce, nor a slice too much cheese, it’s a square but juicy little fella.
Starters are great but more of a cheery preamble to the meaty mains – play with your watercress soup or pick at your beets. On a weekend start with liquids, kicking off the day with their Negroni, the extensive gin list or one of many Bloody Mary variants. Lots of crisp rosé with the meal, too. Share a honeycomb ice cream with toffee sauce for dessert.
If you’re the type of person who falls back on Mark Hix joints for a safe dating routine, the order would be: First date, Mark’s Bar for drinks. Second date, HIX for a Thursday dinner. Third date, branch out, break the Hix trend and hit Hoxton for brunch at Rivington.
Both crisp and casual, Rivington is a sophisticated choice for a rather wide demographic. Common date sightings include: a 40something East London geezer made good taking his 20something media darling for a late night, post-private view, dinner; a recent couple in their late twenties waking hangover free on a Sunday and deciding to crown the summer’s day with a wine fueled lunch, turning into a walk towards The Boundary and a drink on the roof; or, two married couples in their late thirties who are the best of friends and love a good old double date in their local. Charming.
A reliable choice but too safe for some.