Summer in London is pretty special.
Sweaty, but special. On the *rare* occasion we are graced with blue skies and warm evenings, we embrace ’em. It is the season for adventures with pals, hay fever and feelin’ all fancaay in a restaurant drinking cool champagne after work on a school night, coz why not? YOLO.
Isn’t it lovely seeing every restaurant, bar and pub overflowing with happy people as ya stroll home in the evening? We are blessed with some right gems south of the river, but we have a new player in town.
The Ivy is a British classic. Opened in 1917 in Covent Garden, it was the place to be for pre and post theatre dining, a celebrity hot spot ooozing with glitzy, glamour and dee-lish food. I’m not used to going to fancy pants places on the reg, and to be honest I was actually a little nervous for our date (I’m that gal that has the bellowing laugh and spills food down her dress). But it was actually one of the most relaxed, easy going experiences I have had in a long time.
Over the years The Ivy has branched out across the city. Each restaurant is unique but still keeps the sassy class it is known for, 20’s inspired interior, shmoooth jazz in the background, just perf. The Ivy Cafe has opened in the beautiful Wimbledon Village, which is V convenient for us south Londoners and maybe any lucky folk going to watch the tennis!
After rush hour on the tube, we arrived hot ‘n’ hangry. The lovely team (who could see our struggle) whisked us outside to the garden, adorned with sweet smellin’ roses, ivy (obvs), jasmine. Our waiter poured me a frosty glass of champers, making me a very happy lass indeed. Amazing what a few drops of champers can do to a gal, ain’t it?
We sank into the soft chairs taking a moment just to appreciate before diving into the menu.
Whilst discussing our many options, we managed to plough our way through ALL the soft crusted sourdough with the most dreamy salted butter. Is it just me that judges a restaurant on the quality of butter?
We will always fill ourselves up on bladdy bread, no regrets tho.
Decisions were tough, everything looks so dreamy.
After umming and ahhing I eventually went for the tuna carpaccio. Raw yellowfin tuna with spiced avocado, lime creme friache and coriander shoots. It was absolutely LUSH and so refreshing. The tuna was soft both in texture and taste, I’ve never described a good carpaccio (or even tried one) before, but this was damn excellent.
Matt had oak smoked salmon, crab and dill cream with toast.
The vino flowed.
We are far too used to eating dinner (stir fry or summin’) in front of the Good Wife, or some other Netflix delight. It is such a healthy change to spend time indulging in dinner as an event, putting our cutlery down to chat, chuckle and drink wine.
I thought I would have a brief creep around with my camera between courses to show you the beautiful interior, or some of it. No pictures allowed inside, you will have to come and see it for yourself!
The blankets are a great touch, they aren’t totally essential in the summer months, but for a cold blooded lady I most definitely appreciated it.
For mains I went for grilled swordfish (obvs trying to be as fancy as possible) with chimichurri dressing and a big squeeze of lemon. It was tender and very tasty, it is rare that I have fish (tinned tuna not included) but I reckon I will switch it up and have something completely new next time.
Matt went for Argentinian rib eye which he was pretty darn excited about, so excited that he sniffed it, the animal.
And of course, salted thick cut chips on the side.
Then comes desert. My all time fave course.
Everything on the desert menu looked dreamy, but we had to choose the melting chocolate bombe with milk foam, vanilla ice cream and honeycomb centre, drenched in hot salted caramel sauce. OOFT come to mamma.
It really was the bombe.
If you are planning a birthday breaky, lunch or special dinner, I would recommend The Ivy Cafe. Don’t stress about what to wear, it isn’t as formal as I thought – just be comfortable and feel good (expanding waist if poss). It isn’t wildly expensive, more pennies than your average grub but you are well looked after and the food is bloomin’ magnificent.
When we felt we could stand, we said our goodbyes to the lovely staff and slipped into the beautiful 9PM summer golden hour ready to roll home. We were outrageously full, happy and slightly merry, the only way.
Thank you SO much Ivy team for treating us to such a wonderful evenin’, we shall be back!