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|Address:||1-5 West Street, London WC2H 9NQ|
|Tel:||020 7836 4751|
|Price: £55.00||Wine: £25.00||Champagne: £63.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-11.30pm (Sun -10.30pm)|
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Let’s face it; nobody really goes to the Ivy for the quality of the food, do they? They go for the atmosphere, the effortless service, the chance to bask in the (fake tanned) glow of a D list celebrity, although celebs were pretty thin on the ground this Friday eve.
Nonetheless, the Ivy has sailed through many decades of fads and fancies and remained solidly true to its roots. Or has it? Why would you want to have sashimi here? Or lamb Masala? I mean why bother even putting it on the menu? No, I want steak tartar; I want whole lemon sole, fish cakes, calves liver. In other words, I want comfort food, for it is this that has been done so adequately here over the years. It is there, but maybe the nod to the modern fripperies (gladly no foams) has dulled the focus of this once perfectly average restaurant.
The evening started badly – Chicago with Christine Brinkley. The things we do for love. The restaurant continued this theme where (and this has never happened to me before in all my years of dining) we had a Date Night moment. No, I don’t mean the scene where Tina Fey takes her braces out or (much to my wife’s chagrin) the one where Mark Wahlberg is dressed in just a towel – somebody stole our table! We walked in, presented ourselves to the maitre d’ and were informed that we had already arrived and been seated. I was all for going to find out who had the temerity to want to be me, but we were instead ushered to the bar and given menus. No free glass was proffered as a compensation for the restaurant mucking up, just a seat and a twenty minute wait.
At least this meant that we had the chance to look over the menus so that, when we were eventually seated (in the frozen wastelands by the maitre d’ station) we could order straight away. So why then did have to chase up on the wine that we had ordered but which had failed to materialise? People often complain about bad service. Generally this means rude waiters, snobby sommeliers and maitre d’s who look down their noses at you as they ostentatiously run their finger down the booking list to see if they will deign to allow you to grace their restaurant with your credit card. In my experience, London is an awful lot better than it used to be about this sort of service. The service at the Ivy wasn’t bad in this sense, it was just comically inept. Things didn’t arrive (the table, the wine), they were out of things (cauliflower gratin) and the whole effect was less professional than a Britain’s Got Talent contest.
When the food did arrive, it was actually alright: the duck egg was nicely cooked and came on a crunchy sourdough toast, with a smattering of girolles and a serious slab of bacon. The broad bean soup was a nice mixture of smooth soup and mashed bits of beans, although not a particularly strong taste. Mains too were comforting: whole lemon sole on the bone and a Vienna Schnitzel, with some anchovies and capers.
The cover charge is annoying, and it is far from cheap for the food, but the room is still magnificently oak panelled, the nieces still much younger, thinner and blonder than the uncles treating them to a nibble and there is always the chance to see actors who have taken out super injunctions (sorry, who allegedly have taken them out) at the table next to you.