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The Ivy Kensington Brasserie

Restaurants, Brasseries Kensington
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(8user reviews)
Paul Winch-Furness / Photographer
Paul Winch-Furness

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Another Ivy restaurant that bills itself as laidback with its all-day dining menu.

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?

Details

Address: 98 Kensington High St
London
W8 4SG
Transport: Tube: High Street Kensington
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £120
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Users say (8)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:8
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|8
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1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

Got to say, I'm not going to win food photographer of the year (sorry) - I have managed to make a rather special fishcake with a creamy sauce look quite ordinary. Well this is a place which is far from ordinary and it actually completely swish with fancy waiters and beautiful decor. Two fishcakes and a side of peas came to £30 at lunchtime which should give you an idea how quickly it can add up. Its super fast service though so an ideal lunch meeting place right on the High Street and moments away from Hyde Park for an afternoon stroll. 

Tastemaker

The (rather) new Ivy, this one in the heart of Kensington High Street, largely follows the same magic formula dreamed up by Richard Caring of Caprice Holdings, and that still works like a charm. A hint of glamour, a great menu, reliable cuisine and (mostly) decent service...what's not to like?

We visited for lunch on a Monday, and it was full. The food was great and deeply satisfying. We shared starters of burrata and tempura prawns and the veggie main of sweet potatoes with trimmings. If you’ve been to the other Ivies, you will recognise most of the positions featured on the menu. I like how their menu always manages to cater to the most diverse tastes, bridging familiar and (moderately) exotic, comfort food cravings and the modern day requirements (vegan, etc.). Having extensively dined in upscale restaurants of Central London, I can confidently say the food here as in all the other Ivies is reasonably priced for the quality of the ingredients you get. And just like in the other Ivies, the pies (Shepherds and fish) are a definite hit with the clientele. Many diners around us were having them.

However, the service was a bit slow and there were issues with their card reader (poor signal). The clientele here (I guess, that’s Kensington for you) seemed older than in the other Ivies. Which I don’t mind. But there were too many funny looking older women with overly botoxed foreheads, over-pulled shiny skin and injected lips. Them I mind, as I can’t stop looking :)

I do want to come back for the lovely terrace they have at the back (we only discovered it by chance as it has a separate entrance). It looks so lovely and cozy. But otherwise I will keep to my favourite Ivy Soho.


tastemaker

came here for an afternoon tipple so to say ... The atmosphere was very cosy and relaxed and the staff weren't all in your face .... Again The atmosphere was very nice. Friendly staff and quick service... Great prices for west London ...in truth the price doesn't reflect the surroundings at all.. Surroundings such as these offer wine from £8-9 a glass not £5 !! What a bargain and the quality was good too!

I will 100% be back for more afternoon tipples and lunch!

A great variety of drinks on the menu so there's something for everyone.


I visited The Ivy, Kensington for a three course meal and some drinks post graduation. To start off with, Iboth opted for smoked mackerel on granary bread. I often find the taste of mackerel to be a little too strong but that wasn’t the case here. The strong fishy flavour was balanced perfectly with lemon & pepper on two slices of soft bread. Most instances where I’ve ordered some sort of pâté in the past, to my great annoyance, there has not been enough pâté for all of the bread. The Ivy already gets a big thumbs up from me for awesome portion sizing.


Next up, I ordered the pork belly. I am so so glad I did because the mix of flavours were unlike any I’d ever tasted before. The meat was both tender and succulent and the shichimi crackling, Asian salad and matcha mayonnaise on the side were more exciting than expected. I think the photo describes the dish better than I could in words!


I have had some very bad creme brulees from my time living in Paris, but The Ivy didn’t let me down as this crème brûlée was perfect: the top made that satisfying crunch sound as I cracked it and the rest was smooth and creamy. It was also a pretty large portion, which is always a plus. 


Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that it’s not just the food that’s amazing, but the decor and the atmosphere, too. This is a really lovely establishment with friendly and attentive staff. The decor oozes relaxed luxury and there are lots of plants and flowers dotted around the place. This is a great place to celebrate an occasion. @Laura Hartley 


The Ivy Kensington Brasserie is a beautiful restaurant located on High Street Kensington, near the Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Palace. The service can be slow sometimes, however there is a fantastic all-day dining menu with lots to choose from including great food and cocktails.

I didn't have a starter and dived straight in for steak, eggs and chips which was delicious. I enjoyed a sticky toffee martini which was strong and appropriately sweet. For dessert, I had the super 'Instagramable' chocolate bomb, you know the one that melts and reveals a tasty treat underneath. I love the interior of the Brasserie, the flowers are a bonus.The restaurant is open 7 days a week and is reasonable. Perfect for group dining or a quiet brunch, lunch or evening meal. Will definitely be going back soon for brunch or afternoon tea!

tastemaker

Enjoyed a nice meal here, great food as always. However, service was really slow and had to wait so long for food, starters arrived with mains. Coffee was cold after we had waited over 20 mins for it. Was really difficult to get the attention of the staff even though there were quite a few staff in the restaurant. I don't mind a place being busy but would expect an apology explanation for the slow service. Shame as the food was tasty once we got it. I think I prefer the Chelsea branch.

Tastemaker

I absolutely love this place and try to go as often as I can.  It's far superior to its pretentious cousin on King's Road and has much more grandeur and atmosphere.  I've been for breakfast on a week day where it's quiet enough for business meetings or long, guilt-free solitary outings.  For lunch it'd much buzzier and you get the feeling that people will never stop arriving.  This is much the same in the evening where the tables and bar are full to capacity with local characters.  The food is fantastic and always of a certain standard.  The service is impeccable, namely Raffaele and Rodrigo who provide that elusive mix of attentive yet elusive; always there when you need them yet invisible when they need to be.  All in all this is a must-see/drink/eat if you're in the area.  


Spammer

I’ve never quite understood what the fuss is all about with The Ivy. It’s years since I went to the restaurant (the club above is quite swish, admittedly, and I have been there quite a few times) - the food is notoriously mediocre. The clientele is the thing, I suppose.

It’s a great brand of course, after all those pap shots on its doorstep – and, on the back of Soho House’s monstrous global sprawl, plus the roll-out of the Wolseley’s formula to spots like the Delauney and Zedel, it was only a matter of time before the Ivy followed suit and expanded.

And so I give you, The Ivy Brasserie. On Kensington High St, something of a wasteland when it comes to personality, bar a few local exceptions like Otto e Mezzo, Ffiona’s or Il Portico, and lacking great restaurants (although The Belvedere, W8 Kitchen and Clarke’s are high-end mainstays and classy, I guess). There does seem a market among the well-heeled denizens of this neighbourhood for such an outpost. Clever Ivy!

We wanted a ritzy night out and live somewhere near there, so thought we’d give it a go.

The high-end brasserie design feels very familiar (see Balthazar, Colbert). It’s rather corporate somehow (the restaurant is situated in a high-end office block, bang on the high street). There are no paparazzi–level celebs here, at least not when we’re there, but plenty of well-off diners of all ages.

It’s tough to get a handle on the vibe, in fact. There is a sense of occasion but little charm about the place. A localised flavour has been attempted with murals of the Great Exhibition of 1851, which took place down the road in Hyde Park, but this is hardly a neighbourhood eatery (the bathrooms have gold taps and marble floors – but then I guess some of the residences nearby too, so maybe it does fit that description!).

Prices are, as you’d expect, not cheap. The food is mixed – a very poor £9.75 prawn cocktail, devoid of any zest or zing (Garfunkel’s do better – London’s best, by the way, if you’re interested, can be found at Hix in Soho) is followed by a surprisingly tasty £14.50 fish and chips. The fish, at least, is top-notch – fresh and lightly battered.

Mrs B had tuna carpaccio (£9.95) and steak tartare (£9.25), the latter reminding me of Grandpa B’s famous story of how a working lunch backfired when his lunch guest, whom he was schmoozing, ordered the same dish, only – on being presented with it – to send the plate hurtling back to the kitchen, in indignation. The reason he balked at the sight of said unsuspecting steak? He was outraged to be served raw mincemeat.

The offending restaurant? The Ivy..


To see what Mrs B thought, check out our his-and-hers blog:  www.mrandmrsblogs.co.uk


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