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The Ivy is entwining its tendrils across London, but this smart brasserie overlooking Covent Garden piazza was the first offshoot. Like its siblings, the Market Grill channels that special Ivy allure and relies on a varied all-day offer stretching from scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast through chicken milanese or tuna carpaccio for lunch, to steaks and grills at supper, as well as Champagne afternoon tea and prix-fixe theatre menus. The signature shepherd's pie topped with Keen's Cheddar mash has become one of our favourites here, while lighter choices might include Asian-style sautéed tiger prawns. The interior oozes class (and familiarity) with its mosaic floors, brass fixtures and a handsome bar serving cracking restorative tipples. If you're dining solo, sit at
the counter or reserve an alfresco spot on the front terrace for sunny afternoons.
The Ivy Market Grill is Richard Caring’s latest venture (he’s the bloke who sold Cote for millions and he also owns Jackson&Rye, Bill’s, Scott’s and The Ivy to name but a few). I wasn’t convinced by the idea of using The Ivy’s name for a high street chain concept but the place was heaving so it has obviously worked.The inside was smart and handsome; like a grown up version of Jackson&Rye. Tables were insanely close together though – when I went to powder my nose, I practically sat in the neighbouring tables darne of salmon. They’d crammed tables in wherever humanly possible which made the whole experience...
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In London restaurant terms there are few restaurants with the long-running envious reputation of The Ivy. Known for its simple, delicious menu and as a favourite watering hole for celebs, it’s hard to get a table at this London institution. I’m lucky to have eaten there a few times over the years and love the feel of the place, their classic dishes and the fact that there’s plenty of celeb spotting to be done, just remember to be cool about it! I once spotted gold-medal winning figure skaters Torville and Dean there and convinced myself that I recognised them from school. Luckily my friends arrived before I’d gone...
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