It’s difficult to say anything that’s not already been said about the iconic Ivy restaurant. Living in the North, I’d only visited twice; yet, The Ivy is my favourite British restaurant – I cannot give it a greater compliment.
I loved The Ivy for being so understated: the Art Deco building oozed style without trying. More cynical types may say it’s dated, but The Ivy had a real sophistication without pretentiousness. What’s great was the mixture of people; old money types, no money types (me), minor celebrities, families, tourists, ladies who lunch and fathers and sons.
Service at The Ivy on both times was spot on: the amount of polished staff that briskly trotted past without flying arse-over-tit was amazing. The Ivy was obviously a well-run restaurant – confident in its abilities – taking a serious amount of choreography.
Regarding cost, The Ivy Set Lunch provided good value. Unless you’re looking for something offensively ostentatious, it will provide you and yours with plenty of good eats. The al la carte wasn’t cheap, but not as ridiculously expensive as other top London restaurants. The Bang Bang Chicken provided plenty of bang for your buck (or chuck). The Roast Lamb dish was the personification of a glorious spring morning. The Steak Tartar was as good anywhere – either side of the channel. Desserts weren’t a highlight; some pineapple thing was a waste of time, but the Sticky Toffee Pudding was a comfort blanket on a plate.
The food was of the highest standard: just simple flavours but with real depth. One could argue The Ivy’s menu was miss matched, but everything sounded tempting and looked equally delicious. It was proper (predominantly) British cooking at it’s best. If you’re not driving (who is in central London?), you owe it yourself to have a cocktail either before or after your meal – they really are excellent.
I’d eat here every week if I could.
The Ivy Restaurant
Atmosphere 10 Cost 6 Quality 9 Service 10