Never knowingly under-glitzed, The Ivy’s Glasgow branch is no exception to the dressed-up ethos of the ever-expanding nationwide chain. The walls are covered in a compilation of artworks, while windowsills team with lush potted plants in worn terracotta pots. The bar is all art deco bevelled mirrors and polished marble, while the soft furnishings bring the sunshine even when Scotland’s weather isn’t playing ball, with bright jungle prints and clashing velvet patterns.
The globetrotting menu merrily dances its way around world, with burgers and steaks sitting alongside curries and lobster linguine. Sure, it’s a crowd-pleasing approach, but flavour is never sacrificed for the sake of being popular – (nearly) everything is well cooked, made with high-quality ingredients and attractively presented.
King prawn cocktail comes in a silver chalice with a muslin-wrapped lemon, all old-world elegance; asparagus is bright and fresh, rendered decadent by generous shavings of truffle shavings and enough hollandaise to allow for greedy levels of dipping.
To follow, crisp chicken Milanese is covered in a simple mix of rocket, Parmesan and cherry tomatoes. Only our pudding was a bit of a let-down. The idea of a chocolate bombe promises so much, but after the theatre of hot sauce melting a cloche of chocolate, it dissolves into a sweet, sticky puddle; not bad, but not great.
There’s a wide-ranging drinks list that caters for any eventuality, from eye-wateringly-priced bottles of Champagne to household-name soft drinks. The cocktails we tried were a strange mix of bitter and sweet, tasting slightly synthetic and making us wonder if pre-made mixers had been used.
On the other hand, affable staff are personable and professional and really go out of their way to make the experience feel special, indulging whims without a wince.
This isn’t a fine dining experience, and probably won’t be the best meal you ever have in your life, but that’s not what The Ivy brasseries are trying to achieve. They bring glamorous surroundings and silver-standard service within everyone’s reach, making you feel like the £15 main you’ve just eaten was some of the best value food you’ve treated yourself to in a long time.