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A Café Rouge conversion in a handsome terracotta building provides the location for this third branch of The Ivy's café brand, following The Ivy Café Marylebone and The Ivy Café Wimbledon. Straight away it becomes one of the best places to eat in St John’s Wood, one of those affluent London areas that’s curiously poor on the eating-out front. The familiar features from its siblings have been transplanted root and branch – all-day dining seven days a week, from breakfast through to supper via elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, cocktails and weekend brunch. But the operation is prevented from feeling formulaic by the warm welcome of the staff and the stylishness of the Martin Brudnizki design. An onyx bar, super-flattering lighting, marble floor tiles and burnt-orange banquettes feel a little bit Paris but very much London. Likewise, the something-for-every-mood menu hits the spot whatever the time of day. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner of Ivy classics: the properly crispy duck salad and richly warming (if not exactly generously portioned) shepherd’s pie, as well as crunchy fried prawns and squid with a gentle wasabi mayo, and chicken Milanese with a fried egg, truffle mayo and an au courant side order of creamed kale and spinach with pine nuts. To drink, a short and competitively priced Euro wine list makes ordering easy, there are appealing booze-free options – or try the Negroni tasting set. Very handy for Lord’s and London Zoo, too.
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