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!)