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.
Having waited a week since the opening, and with it very close to where I work, the urge to check out Caprice Holdings’ new baby was practically overwhelming. And so to Covent Garden’s The Ivy Market Grill we went, with a booking for dinner on the Tuesday of its second week.
Little brother of dining stalwart The Ivy, it feels more accessible than the mother ship, with much of the menu pretty reasonably priced, and half the tables reserved for walk-ins. This almost makes it feel more casual, but the menu is fabulous and the décor stunning, all dark wood panels and mosaic floor tiles.
It was super busy on a Tuesday, nearly full. We ordered wine and Prosecco and got stuck in to the huge menu – it’s all British classics, simple and delicious. There were about 18 things I wanted to order but felt one should exercise a bit of restraint in these situations. I generally try and stick with two courses to avoid actually being a house, and this time took the risky decision to have a main and dessert (good choice – more on that later).
We ordered the shepherd’s pie and half a Banham chicken, which came with French fries, along with extra greens. The pie was delicious, chunks of lamb rather than mince with creamy potato and cheese. My other half found it slightly underseasoned, but it should be noted he like things salty. The chicken was juicy and full of flavour, covered in a lovely herby marinade/rub, and the veg was crunchy which I love.
The dessert was actually the highlight for me, which is rare – I normally prefer a few slabs of cheese and/or more wine, but this was incredible. It was a ‘chocolate bombe’, a sphere of dark chocolate encasing vanilla ice cream, surrounded by milk foam and with hot salted caramel sauce poured over at the table to melt the ball and expose the middle. I love salted caramel but this was something else, so rich and perfect with the milk foam, which stayed foamy even with the sauce poured on it, and not a hint of resemblance to spit. The post-melting pic obviously doesn’t do it justice at all but you get the idea..
They also have their own branded gin and Champagne, which coincidently is something I aspire to.
The service and atmosphere were great, if I had to highlight small niggles they would be that I asked to swap fries for beef dripping chips but they didn’t materialise, also it was extremely hot in there – to the point that we went elsewhere rather than have another drink. I’d still go back, there’s loads on the menu I’d like to try, it’s pretty reasonable and still feels like somewhere special.