FACT Review: Billionaire Riyadh

FACT Review: Billionaire Riyadh



What's in a name? Well, quite a lot when you have a lavish reputation like Billionaire to live up to.

When DJ Khaled took to the stage at MDLBeast Soundstorm in December, it wasn't just his performance or the star-studded roster of guest appearances that had the crowd in awe. It was a shoutout to Billionaire Riyadh at the end of his headline slot that set thousands of tongues wagging.

"How much was he paid to say that?" is one of the first things I ask once I'm comfortably seated inside Billionaire in Riyadh's As Sulimaniyah district. It turns out, absolutely nothing. The restaurant were as surprised as the crowd by the unabashed endorsement. Yet, it's no surprise, given the adoration the Palestinian-American showed for the restaurant and its signature lobster salad across his social media channels that night before the show.

Billionaire Riyadh

As I await the arrival of said signature, I can't help but admire the restaurant space with its star-burst style light fittings and interiors that exude an air of affluence. There's a bar and a stage complete with high-tech audiovisuals from which tables topped with white table clothes fan outwards to the edges of the restaurant. It's undoubtedly decadent, undeniably opulent, and oh-so Billionaire.

With the stage set for a memorable meal, Billionaire Riyadh is the first venue to offer a dinner show concept in the Kingdom. Except the singers, dancers and acrobats are on a Ramadan hiatus during our visit. Thankfully we're kept thoroughly entertained by Billionaire Riyadh's charming and charismatic General Manager, Gregorio Lordi. With him as our culinary guide, there's no need for the "lifestyle of the rich and famous" and I soon forget about the show.

Food is ordered from a combined menu of Italian and New Asian cuisines and is generally excellent. As expected from an establishment of this stature, the price point equates to quality in food and service. From the Avocado and Prawn Salad (SAR 140) that is delicate and flavoursome to the creamy Burrata with cherry tomatoes (SAR 210) topped with basil oil, dining at Billionaire is as decadent as you would expect. There's even a caviar menu.

Billionaire Riyadh

Plate after plate of beautifully presented food hits the table, each upping the ante in terms of flavour and flair. The Wagyu Truffle Ceviche (SAR 130) with coconut milk, jalapeño and Sriracha is a standout dish, as are the Spicy Chicken Gyoza (SAR 78), where I greedily devour each divine morsel (thankfully, my dining partner is a vegetarian). 

The sushi and maki rolls, however, are the menu highlights. I'd suggest ordering a platter to indulge in the likes of Salmon and Truffle Maki, Seabass Nigiri and Tuna Aburi. But what of the Lobster Salad (SAR 245) I hear you cry. Well, if I could talk about Lolo Biondo lettuce as passionately as DJ Khaled, then Billionaire should make me a brand ambassador. It's that good.

Main courses kick things up a notch with generous portions of Salt Crusted Seabass (SAR 690), Grilled Rack of Lamb (SAR 242) and Wagyu Beef Ribeye (SAR 355)from the Josper grill. The Italian side of the menu features pasta, risotto and pizza should that be your persuasion.

Billionaire Riyadh

Billionaire Riyadh comes to the Kingdom from Formula 1 impresario Flavio Briatore. The man behind the Billionaire Life brand and its slew of lavish venues that traverse the globe from Monte Carlo to Dubai and Kenya. Billed as a venue where everyone is treated like a VIP, I'm inclined to agree. Judging by the packed dining room on the Thursday evening I visited, Billionaire has become one of the hottest places to be seen at in Riyadh. 

As Flavio Briatore explained when I recently caught up with him. "I believe that Saudi has seen an incredible movement in the last five years. At Billionaire, everyone is mixing and enjoying the experience and I think that Saudi has the potential to be strong, especially in The Red Sea area, which is amazing. The brand is very solid and operating in Saudi Arabia is very easy as well."

Having already attracted a celebrity clientele that includes Busta Rhymes and Mike Tyson, the reality of dining at Billionaire is not quite as I expected. The food is fantastic and the venue isn't pretentious, instead oozing a sense of glamour and fun. 

The name says it all really. It's emblematic of Riyadh, but did I feel like a billionaire? Well, perhaps just for one night…

GO: Visit https://billionairesociety.com for reservations and more information.