I’ve become a huge fan of The Ivy Restaurants after visiting The Ivy Chelsea Garden back in May and more recently the revamped original restaurant in Covent Garden. I was looking forward to visiting their latest venture, The Ivy Café, located in one of my favourite areas of London: Marylebone. With all the gorgeous fashion boutiques, local restaurants and artisan food shops in the village, The Ivy Café makes a perfect addition.
On the corner of Marylebone Lane, tucked away from the busy high street is this little gem.
With bistro seating on the pavement, perfect for if you want to grab a quick coffee while you’re doing your shopping.
As I entered, the buzzy atmosphere immediately hit me; the room is small compared to The Ivy Café’s older sisters but good use has been made of the space. A beautiful brass topped bar surrounded by studded stools forms the centre piece in the room but I loved the mirrored panelling on the walls…
…the gorgeous artwork and the soft red leather seating. It looks completely different to the other two restaurants, much more casual but still super-stylish.
The Café definitely retains that classic appeal that I loved about the other two.
The Ivy Café is part of the Caprice Holdings Group owned by Richard Caring which encompasses not only the other Ivy restaurants but also favourites of mine such as 34, Le Caprice, J Sheekey, and my all time favourite fish restaurant, Scott’s. Caprice Holdings also own the recently opened hot spot, Sexy Fish where I celebrated my birthday.
My friend Lauren arrived and bubbly was ordered, she’s about to go back to work after her maternity leave and The Ivy Café seemed the ideal venue to toast her final week off. Lauren and I have the same taste in food so we negotiated who would have what from the menu of comfort food, salads and grills. I wasn’t surprised to see The Ivy classics on the menu, such as the Shepherd’s Pie, hamburger and fish cakes, there would be outrage among Ivy aficionados if they weren’t.
My starter was tuna carpaccio and I loved this dish which was a hugely generous plate of perfectly prepared tuna with a big dollop of creamy crushed avocado. The fish was perfectly paired with a jalapeno, coriander and lime dressing and there a delicious contrasting crunch from the spicy croutons.
Lauren equally enjoyed her crunchy fried prawns which were also generous for a starter portion. The prawns were light, crisp and non-greasy and were given an Asian flavour by the accompanying wasabi mayo and miso sauce.
Lauren chose the fish of the day, a perfectly cooked sea bream, and she loved the accompaniment of finely shaved apples which added just the right amount of sweetness.
My main course was a plump piece of swordfish served with a piquant chimi churri dressing. Perfectly cooked and beautifully succulent. The dishes were the ideal portion size for us but there’s lots of more hearty choices, the classic fish cake was hugely popular and we saw the significantly sized breaded salmon and haddock topped with a poached delivered to several tables.
We also went for a tomato and basil salad.
And some best of British chunky chips. Our light meal meant plenty of room for dessert and thanks to social media and Catherine’s blog, I knew exactly what to order…
The Chocolate Bombe was presented as a perfect sphere floating in a pool of milk foam…
Our waitress poured the hot caramel sauce on the chocolate’s outer shell…
As it melted into itself…
To reveal vanilla ice cream and honeycomb inside. Pure decadence and absolute heaven if you like salted caramel.
A strawberry shortcake sundae made up of vanilla ice cream, shortcake, crème chantilly and crush meringue was our other dessert. A little pan of warm poached strawberries sat on the side to drizzle on top. I do warn you both of these desserts are huge and probably require four people to finish them off; the strawberry meringue alone had five scoops of ice cream! Maybe not great for the waistline but definitely delicious and very good value for money.
A cappuccino with perfect Ivy foam art and a couple of salted caramel truffles finished us off nicely.
Lauren and I both loved The Ivy Café, the food is classic and well-prepared but best of all is the fantastic buzzy brasserie atmosphere and the friendly service. Plus, I was in the perfect position to do some shopping afterwards…
The Ivy Café
96 Marylebone Lane
020 3301 0400
Our meal was complimentary but my opinions are my own.