Ivy’s Mess Hall

Restaurants Stoke Newington
4 Love It
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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

By: Euan Ferguson


Venue name: Ivy’s Mess Hall
Address: 129 Kingsland High St
E8 2PB
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Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:16
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:2
3 people listening

I would go as far to say this is one of my favourite restaurants in London. I had such a delightful dinner last night and I really, really love chatting the friendly staff. Try the baked chorizo and black rice with calamari with a mozzarella salad on the side. I love that they always place techno and house, I often leave with a couple of new tunes in my head! 


Let me acquaint you with this place's special vegetarian brunch burger - Halloumi, organic fried egg, avocado and roasted cherry tomatoes, encased in a soft, buttery brioche bun. I can safety say that every time that I've had halloumi since, has been a bitter disappointment. 

LOVE this place. From quick poached egg brunches to slow dinners with spritz and red wine. Ivy's delightful Mediterranean menu includes: tasty breads, baked chorizo, prawn salad, cheese board and specials. I really love the staff who work in the evening, they're a fun fashion crowd who are always up for a chat. Service isn't super speedy, but I think it's all part of the charm as I've never had a bad meal or a bad time at Ivy's. 

ZERO STARS. I have to sadly say that an African friend of mine was refused lunch service. As a fellow local business owner he likes to support his neighbourhood by shopping and eating at local establishments. A refusal to serve lunch and even a glass of water, definitely means that I won't be dining there. 

Unfortunately I had a really bad experience here last week. My friend's meal was served before mine, and after waiting 10 minutes I asked if mine was coming. Both the waiter and waitress looked shocked but came back and explained to us that it would be another 5 minutes. When my meal finally came, they gave no explanation until I asked, and they said defensively that the oven wasn't working properly. The meals weren't that good, and my friend's was cold because we'd had to wait, which we told the staff. At the end the waiter had the cheek to ask how our meals were and then looked very shocked and got defensive again when we said we weren't happy with the wait. No compensation was offered. It all would have been fine if the waiters had explained what was wrong and offered to re-heat my friend's cold meal. WIll not be going back. 

Best Mussels I've eaten in a long time! The burrata is also delicious and I came back for breakfast the next morning, no joke, the best eggs Benedict, everything tastes to fresh, coming back soon

Good food and nice atmosphere. But a 40 minute wait for food (and we're talking pancakes, toast and avocado here, not anything elaborate) at lunchtime was ridiculous. We were told after ordering that it would be about 15-20 minutes. The women next to us gave up after half an hour. My toast and avocado was fine; but they'd forgotten my friend's request to hold the maple syrup on her pancakes, perhaps because so much time had gone by. So, I wouldn't go back at a mealtime as they're clearly understaffed or inefficient or both. Shame.

Fantastic food .... but, the thin, wooden, backless (so no leaning back) benches are painful to sit on for more than about 10 minutes and toilets were a bit grim too. Will definitely go back though as the food was bloody great and that's what we went for. Please get some proper chairs though, I like to relax when I'm eating!

We loved our dinner at Ivy's last night - popped in without a booking and got a quiet table at the back. We ordered quite a lot as I've come to expect that 'sharing plates' means measly portions. Not so here, the bruschetta was a large hunk of fresh bread with juicy toppings, the courgette salad was definitely for two to share and the cod and sliders were main sized. All delicious. The room is pared back but made cosy with low hanging lamps. Staff were friendly and made some pretty great cocktails - I'll be back just to have a couple of those soon.

Amazing, amazing Soya Cappucino (not an easy task to make this). Incredibly delicious breakfasts. Great staff and service. Music ever so slightly too loud but what a great place. Can't wait to try dinner. Best coffee and brekkie in Hackney....without a doubt...

Ivy's has just become the no.1 brunch spot in East London. Relaxed, very decently priced, incredible coffee, perfect pancakes, five star eggs, lovely staff.

Cool Place, best pancakes! I always call to book a table in case its busy. My girlfriend loves the vegan amazeballs, it nice and chilled, oh the meatball sandwich is pretty awesome too, real italian sauce

Finally a place in dalston that serves amazing fresh breakfast and great coffee, i work around the area and i hang out there a lot. nice atmosphere, it can get pretty busy in the weekends, but its worth the wait. Big portions and organic eggs, that hollandeise is spot on! Staff are always chatty and happy to help

Had been told to expect great things of this place but what a disappointment. Painfully slow. No real apologies or customer service. Decent enough food once it had arrived and the coffee was good too. My girlfriend gave up trying to ask for cutlery and buttered her toast with a used tea spoon. But the not-quite-all-there staff left a few items off our bill so all was not lost. Not sure how businesses like this survive.

I notice the last 10 posts were written on the same day and just so happen to give 5 stars. Hmmm. I've been to Ivy's three times now and overall its a nice neighbourhood cafe. Service though can be really frustrating. On my last visit I was told after 20 minutes that what I ordered wasn't available. At that point I was on my second coffee and starving. In terms of the quality of food, I disagree with previous reviews - it's tasty enough but pretty standard for a trendy East End cafe. It's also fairly pricey, which is generally reflective of how Dalston is becoming more and more expensive. For example, £3.50 for two small pieces of toasted ciabatta is ridiculous. On the plus side - the coffee is delicious. If Ivy's can get their service in order then maybe the over-priced toast won't seem so bad.......

Reliably delicious food, great and very attentive service. Overall a really relaxed place; great for getting some work done during the day (plenty of power sockets for laptops) and for catching up with friends. Highly recommended.

I went there for two days straight while visiting london! The place is super pleasant and it doesn't make you feel that you are on kingsland road! Food is so delicious it made me feel LOVED! Try the Mortadella sandwich!! Mushroom on toast, lemon/blueberry cake, amazeballs. Coffee is made to perfection! Will be back to Ivy's for SURE!

The best food you can get in East London. Super friendly staff and the most beautiful female chef!

My new food place! Dalston was missing a place like this, they serve delicious organic breakfast, the best hollandeise sauce ever!! Huge american blueberry pancakes and authentic sandwiches during the day. Music is great, staff is sweet and the internet works, perfect atmosphere. I still have to come for dinner, but i already know i won't be disappointed!!