Having had a lovely meal at Covent Garden’s The Ivy Market Grill when it opened, I was keen to go back and try out more of the menu, and what better occasion than a Sunday? We booked at 12 which was unfortunately too late for the majority of the brunch menu, which stops at 11.30 (nice one Lesser), but there was still lots of good stuff to choose from, namely a very delicious Bloody Mary to kick off. Not as good as The Bloody Oyster a couple of weeks ago, but savoury and spicy, and exactly what I wanted.
The décor is gorgeous, it feels grown up. I would comment on the tables though, you’re pretty much on the same one as your neighbour they’re so close. It was fine as it wasn’t overly busy but it’s not fun when it’s packed.
After a lot of gassing we got round to ordering, with two of us going for the lobster benedict, one for the HLT (the halloumi version of the BLT) one for the shepherd’s pie and one for the truffled chicken sandwich.
The lobster benedict was yum, with rich Hollandaise and soft brioche toast at the bottom. The only thing I’d say is that they should prepare/buy the lobster in bigger chunks – they were small enough to feel like the pieces of crayfish in the Pret crayfish sandwich, and while that’s lovely I wouldn’t pay £16.95 for it.
The shepherd’s pie at the Market Grill is great, with chunks of tender lamb and smooth, cheesy mash. I didn’t get round to trying the sandwiches but I only heard positive noises! We also had the courgette fries which are a triumph. I don’t know why they’re so good, I’m guessing fat and salt! But also the light, almost whipped yoghurt sauce, which was totally delicious.
We treated ourselves to desserts (well, three between us) and they were all immense. I’ve had the melting chocolate bomb before and it was just as good. The dark treacle tart was rich and sticky, and the strawberry shortcake sundae was sweet with huge chucks of strawberry in the ice cream. I loved the chewy meringues but they could’ve been a bit smaller to allow for more delicate scoffing. Biting them made a mess and stuffing them in all in one frankly looks a bit gross in polite company.
The bill was about £170 for five of us, including a few drinks and desserts, as well as service. Not too bad, as everything was pretty good. The ambience was lovely, and while it’s more casual than it’s big brother, it’s a still a good bet.