Business folk rejoice: Canary Wharf’s reputation as an eating-out desert has been partially improved by the sprouting of a new Ivy. It’s no surprise, then, that the place was packed to the rafters when we dropped by early on a Tuesday evening. But despite the full house, the famed Ivy efficiency was working at full speed among the army of waiting staff weaving their way around the hubbub.
As at other outposts of the fast-expanding chain, the interior still maintains the exclusive feel of the Covent Garden original, making any visit feel like a special occasion. The twist at this Ivy is the lush greenery placed around the inside, which makes up for the lacklustre park outside – though a retractable roof and terrace will add heaps of alfresco appeal when summer rolls around.
But while the ambience and surroundings have transplanted the Ivy magic intact to E14, the cooking has rather less sparkle. The white onion soup with a creamy truffle mascarpone was perfectly serviceable and the crispy courgette fries with a smooth chilli, lemon and mint yoghurt went down well. A tender lamb shoulder was enjoyable enough, but a side order of green beans was far too salty. The chicken Milanese with a truffle cream sauce was decent, but nothing special and the recommended truffle and parmesan chips left us wondering whether everything really needed to have truffle on it. Puddings were better: a tart passion fruit baked Alaska and Instagram-worthy chocolate bombe.
And while the offering couldn’t be accused of being short on choice – there are breakfast, weekend brunch and vegetarian and vegan menus – the regulars that this place is so clearly aimed at may wish that the familiar line-up of tempura prawns, crispy duck salad, chicken Milanese and shepherd’s pie was refreshed more often.
That said, competitive pricing extends to cocktails and the Euro-focused wine list, and with glamour and fun in short supply in Docklands, The Ivy in the Park should put down deep roots in Canary Wharf.