On a stretch of Dalston’s main drag which increasingly offers a plethora of new places to eat alongside the trendy bars and clubs, Ivy’s feels right at home. The ‘Mess Hall’ bit is a conceit – there’s nothing regimental about it. It’s actually an ultra-casual yet studiously hip all-day café/restaurant serving excellent coffee and small sharing plates.
The plates themselves are irony personified, resplendent with kitsch scenes of nature, but what’s on those plates is a lot less frivolous. The concise chalked-up menu may include the likes of chorizo and tomato stew, ultra-fresh prawns with garlic and parsley, or a generous plate of cheese and charcuterie.
Rough-hewn furniture and quirky plant displays on the tables add to the easygoing feel, while friendly staff are willing to stop for a chat and make recommendations.
For the time being, Ivy’s is BYO (with a £3 per person corkage charge), and the dishes are decently priced, making this a great alternative to the always reliable Turkish grills or the US diner tributes nearby.
NOTE: Since this review was published, Ivy's has acquired an alcohol license. The Time Out Food and Drink Editors