The Ivy: a fine dining institution once renowned for wooing the rich and famous while making us mere commoners wait, like, forever for a reservation. But with the launch of their new Kensington restaurant, the airs and graces have been scaled back just enough for you to get a table when you like. Everything else is still classic Ivy: the handsome dining room and bar buzzing with smiley waiters; the two-hour table limit (and they mean it); and a prudent menu of mod-Brit dishes that may lack a certain ingenuity but is very much on point.
The seared scallops, for instance, were technically wonderful, and the same goes for the slow-roasted lamb shoulder – a fatty chunk of tasty meat sitting pretty on a heap of cheesy polenta. But a side of kale and spinach? Boring. And the only exciting thing about the strawberry cheesecake sundae was that it was hoarding extra chunks of meringue.
But let’s be honest: what The Ivy Brasserie lacks in culinary finesse, it makes up for by being that place you pick to impress your friends from out of town. Because who doesn’t love to name-drop?