One of the grand dames of the London restaurant scene, recently refurbished and relaunched.
Once upon a time, if you were a celeb, you went to The Ivy. That was back when Chiltern Firehouse could still send a fire engine if your kitchen was ablaze. In the 1990s and 2000s, pretty much all you had to do to be a celeb was to go to The Ivy, and then be papped as you left. It was exclusive in the wrong sense of the word.
But times have changed. The celebs have gone elsewhere. And now – after an expensive five-month refurb – The Ivy is once again open for business. It’s ready for you and me, without the three-month wait once endured by us hoi polloi. Getting a table still isn’t easy, though I eventually secured seats at the bar.
Mind you, it remains a parallel universe. When you arrive, you’re made to feel like you’ve arrived by the charming maitre d’, smiling waitresses attentive wine waiters. The room was always a looker, but it’s been scrubbed up, and it’s now even better than before. The feel’s still classic and timeless: dark wood, flattering lighting, well-chosen art, green leather seating, smartly attired staff. A huge new central bar allows good views of the beautiful mullioned stained-glass windows.
The new menu combines old Ivy favourites with some recent additions. The famous shepherd’s pie is there, with its rich browned-meat flavours, along with old-fashioned seafood dishes such as plaice with earthy brown shrimps, doused in a buttery sauce. The Ivy made its name on this sort of comfort food: it’s like what you might get at a top boarding school, only better.
New dishes have also been included to modernise things a bit. Tea-smoked short ribs is a Chinese dish popularised by Hakkasan. The Ivy’s version was a little dry and chewy, a little sweet, although tasty. But it stood out among the heirlooms – it just didn’t seem to fit in.
Our meal made it clear that you still don’t come to The Ivy for brilliant cooking, but complaining about that would miss the point of the place. It’s a wonderful experience despite some culinary shortcomings. The room is beautiful, and the staff hospitable till the moment the doorman waves you off. This is why The Ivy remains a treasure: five-star service and a room so good you barely notice the three-star food.
|Venue name:||The Ivy||Contact:|
1-5 West Street
|Opening hours:||Mon-Wed noon-11.30pm; Thur-Sat noon-midnight; Sun noon-10.30pm|
|Transport:||Tube: Leicester Square tube|
|Price:||Main courses £13.75-39. Meal for two with wine and service: around £120.|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4.3 / 5
- 5 star:8
- 4 star:5
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:0
The Ivy has to be on everyone's wishlist if you haven't been there. Try Bang Bang chicken starter followed by Shepherd's Pie for culinary heaven.
I love the new design of the Restaurant in particular the centre bar where you can dine while looking across the whole restaurant. The Art Deco decor and the buzzy vibe go along way to making this one of my favourite dining destinations and they actually also have a relatively priced pre-theatre menu so for a quick bite before the theatre its a great option for a boozy business lunch it works and for a nice romantic evening dinner with a bit of celeb spotting it's perfect.
The Ivy with its amazing reputation hardly needs reviewing. But it is exactly therefore that I feel it is worth saying that unlike so many places it lived up to, no, outdid expectations. Not and easy feat when expectations are so high. What makes a difference at a place like this, is that on top of the great decor, Art , incredible and simple yet oh so great food ( I genuinely don't think I can enjoy banger and mash anywhere else again!), cocktails, wine and to die for desserts (ooops, we tried it all) is the impeccable friendly service. Not a hint of snobbery. We hadn't booked and weren't dressed for the occasion, yet they sorted out a table for us, and treated us fantastically. All-round wonderful night!
Just as good as before but with a big, glitzy, new bar. The service was impeccable and the food was great. The shepherds pie never fails to deliver on taste!
This is still a great place to eat. The recent refurb means the dining area is bigger with a bar in the middle which gives the room a good focal point. From the minute you walk in you feel you are somewhere special so it's great for a special celebration or not if you aren't paying! Lots of things on the menu looked great and there was plenty of choice. There are still quite a few old classics on the menu so I was rather boring and went for the fish and chips but was very pleased with my decision. Spotted a few celebs so clearly word is out that this is still one of London's gems.