The Ivy Collection is growing fast, with 14 brasseries and cafés in London alone. This can only be a good thing for a London foodie as the top-notch quality and style from the original West Street restaurant has been seamlessly filtered through to them all.
The Victoria branch on Victoria Street is brilliantly located and has a stunning outdoor terrace. Not even two years old, it’s one of the new kids on the Ivy block. The interior decor is beautiful and features a striking pink onyx bar on the first floor. The cocktail menu is insanely good (and if your favourite one isn’t listed, just ask as they’ll be able to whip it up; on our visit our waiter heard us talking about Porn-Star Martinis and within five minutes we both had one in our hand). The Hazelnut Alexander made with VSOP Cognac, Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur and cream, finished with grated nutmeg is a must-order and also doubles as dessert, while the Palace Passion, made with fresh passion fruit shaken with Absolut Vanilla Vodka, and finished with flaming, over proof rum in a passion fruit shell looks as good as it tastes.
The Ivy Café in Marylebone, meanwhile, is the perfect pitstop after a day of west-end hustle and bustle. The café-style menu, featuring breakfast, elevenses, brunch, lunch, afternoon snacks, cream tea and dinner, offers something for every occasion. With a small number of outside seats too (which increases in the evening) and the classic stylish interiors you’d expect inside, it’s an oasis of calm luxury. Martin Brudnizki Design Studio consulted on The Ivy Café’s interiors, whose features include an antique pewter top bar, pendant lighting, marble floor tiles and vintage red leather banquettes.
The menus in all the brasseries have a nod to the famous century-old Ivy heritage; classic dishes like shepherd’s pie and fishcakes are happily still in place. Comfort food at its very best. There are also interesting dishes like Keralan sweet potato curry and blackened cod fillet. The dessert menu has old faves like a melting chocolate bombe and rum baba on there, and in fact if you have a really sweet tooth head to one of the brasseries for a really good value afternoon tea.
On our recent visit to the Marylebone branch a bottle of Whispering Angel rosé is dispensed in record time at an outdoor table and after a wonderful three courses we reluctantly get up to leave only to find we are the last guests there. Sometimes you can get too comfortable it seems.
The Ivy Victoria, 66 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6SQ. The Ivy Café, Marylebone, 96 Marylebone Lane, London, W1U 2QA