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96 Kensington High Street
It’s hard to imagine a better match than old-money Kensington for the latest roll-out of the Richard Caring brand. As with the original Ivy, the feel here is of a classic dining establishment: white tablecloths, suited or apron-clad waiting staff, beautifully old-school, dark-wood-and-brass styling, idiosyncratic Victorian artwork. But with shining floors, higher ceilings and a wall of windows, the brasserie label suits. On the menu, the Ivy blueprint of unchallenging all-day international comfort food remains – including the classic shepherd’s pie and chicken Milanese. Each dish we ordered satisfied, from an aromatic duck curry feathered with coconut shavings to a pleasing combination of mozzarella, roasted squash, chilli, pumpkin and mint. Set menus underline the good value, and a wine list offers interest across the price range. The Ivy name is arguably being diluted with each new sparkling branch, but with such a winning formula we’re struggling to begrudge the invasion.
Best in Kensington
96 Kensington High Street
High Street Kensington Tube Station 116m
Notting Hill Gate Tube Station 846m
Kensington Palace 440m
Kensington Museum 497m
Mon-Sat 8am-11pm (Fri-Sat -11.30pm) Sun 9am-10.30pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
i'm always surprised by how few good restaurants there are in and around Kensington, so was excited to see the ivy open up here. it did not disappoint! I think the food is better than in the original one in covent garden, and has more atmosphere than the ivy cafe in Marylebone. It was good to see they kept some of their signature dishes too... my husband loved the shepherds pie! We had a really lovely evening and although its pricey, i did actually think it was worth it. if you live in the area I'd highly recommend it. It's good for the whole family, and has a bar where you can have a cocktail afterwards too.
Food + drink: 5
Went for anniversary meal. Had previously been to the Ivy in Covent Garden some years ago and the Kensington branch did not disappoint. The table was great, food top class and all staff attentive and professional. I had the tuna carpaccio to start which was perfect, followed by the lemon sole with mash and side salad, seasoned well and the cheese to finish. My husband had the scallops, duck curry and finished with the chocolate bomb. Both happy customers. Great atmosphere in the restaurant and we will definitely return.
Food + drink: 3
Mr B's review:
I’ve never quite understood what the fuss is all about with The Ivy. It’s years since I went to the restaurant (the club above is quite swish, admittedly, and I have been there quite a few times) - the food is notoriously mediocre. The clientele is the thing, I suppose.
It’s a great brand of course, after all those pap shots on its doorstep – and, on the back of Soho House’s monstrous global sprawl, plus the roll-out of the Wolseley’s formula to spots like the Delauney and Zedel, it was only a matter of time before the Ivy followed suit and expanded.
And so I give you, The Ivy Brasserie. On Kensington High St, something of a wasteland when it comes to personality, bar a few local exceptions like Otto e Mezzo, Ffiona’s or Il Portico, and lacking great restaurants (although The Belvedere, W8 Kitchen and Clarke’s are high-end mainstays and classy, I guess). There does seem a market among the well-heeled denizens of this neighbourhood for such an outpost. Clever Ivy!
We wanted a ritzy night out and live somewhere near there, so thought we’d give it a go.
The high-end brasserie design feels very familiar (see Balthazar, Colbert). It’s rather corporate somehow (the restaurant is situated in a high-end office block, bang on the high street). There are no paparazzi–level celebs here, at least not when we’re there, but plenty of well-off diners of all ages.
It’s tough to get a handle on the vibe, in fact. There is a sense of occasion but little charm about the place. A localised flavour has been attempted with murals of the Great Exhibition of 1851, which took place down the road in Hyde Park, but this is hardly a neighbourhood eatery (the bathrooms have gold taps and marble floors – but then I guess some of the residences nearby too, so maybe it does fit that description!).
Prices are, as you’d expect, not cheap. The food is mixed – a very poor £9.75 prawn cocktail, devoid of any zest or zing (Garfunkel’s do better – London’s best, by the way, if you’re interested, can be found at Hix in Soho) is followed by a surprisingly tasty £14.50 fish and chips. The fish, at least, is top-notch – fresh and lightly battered.
Mrs B had tuna carpaccio (£9.95) and steak tartare (£9.25), the latter reminding me of Grandpa B’s famous story of how a working lunch backfired when his lunch guest, whom he was schmoozing, ordered the same dish, only – on being presented with it – to send the plate hurtling back to the kitchen, in indignation. The reason he balked at the sight of said unsuspecting steak? He was outraged to be served raw mincemeat.
The offending restaurant? The Ivy...
(To see what Mrs B thought, check out our blog!)
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