Ribeira, meaning ‘waterside’, has popped up to stake its claim as being one of the most beautifully designed and wonderfully stylish spots in East London. So I swung by this South American gem at the first opportunity.
Tucked away somewhat, Ribeira brings new life to riverside dining in East London. Inspired by travels through the labyrinthine waterways of South America, they have done a great job capturing the essence of the continent. Ribeira remixes colonial style in a contemporary environment to create a relaxing yet fun atmosphere.
The clever mixture of metal and wood interspersed with throws of lush green plant life and Latin inspired ornaments provide the perfect amalgamation of East London and South America. The entrance area is a great place to sit on a warm summers eve, cocktail in hand, as you watch the boats go by on the water. They also have a spacious and rather cosy room at the back for events and more seating upstairs with a sit down restaurant feel to it.
The Atmosphere and Clientele
For a Friday evening it was very, very chilled despite being almost completely full. The serene atmosphere on a weekend is perhaps indicative of what to expect from Ribeira, adorning itself on the riverside and with a healthy dose of South American culture it was only ever going to be a chilled out place.
The clientele were fairly mature, ranging from around 25-40, mainly those looking to sit and have a few drinks, some food and a chat. Naturally there was some Latin inspired music but it wasn’t overly loud so you won’t have to shout when having a conversation.
The Food and Drinks
When people think South American food, they think of Burritos, Tacos and Nachos, which, on their day, can be a treat, but do not show off the true flair of this region’s cuisine. Ribeira’s menu, whilst not that extensive goes some way to showcasing the range of food on offer. The small tapas plates are all wonderfully imaginative and well executed, particularly the Mackerel Fishballs and the veggie Croquetas. Whilst there are only 5 main courses on offer it is still rather difficult to choose one, as they all sound so interesting. We opted for the Argentinian style beef and the Ropavieja, slow cooked shredded beef brisket, both cooked extremely well, bursting with flavour and complimented by some great sides.
The cocktail menu is extensive and equally as imaginative as the food menu. Their signature tipple ‘Fire Water’ is a heady concoction, but it has a unique and colourful taste setting the standard for the rest of the cocktails on offer. For those looking for something particularly strong we’d suggest a bit of ‘Death in the Afternoon’, we’ll let you find out why it’s called that on your own.
All in all Ribeira is a welcome change of pace to the East London bar scene. A relaxed and affordable riverside spot offering imaginative food and great cocktails all wrapped up in a South American bubble, you can’t go wrong.