Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Out of Ivy

Victoria Casewell-Lunn revisits The Ivy

 

blank

The Ivy was arguably London’s most famous restaurant of the nineties and noughties. Bought by iconic restaurateurs Jeremy King and Christopher Corbin in 1990, it became a playground for the rich and famous. Getting a table was almost an art form unless, of course, you were rich and famous and had their ‘special’ number. Sadly, I wasn’t and didn’t but I still had the good fortune to go on numerous occasions in my early twenties. In 2005, it was taken over by Richard Caring and I haven’t been since – not for any particular reason but simply because London’s restaurant scene has grown from strength to strength and there is now so much to choose from.

 

I have often wondered what it’s like these days and whether it still has the sparkle and magic that made it the dining destination of choice.  So, on Saturday afternoon, the Beard and I decided to try our luck at getting a reservation. Weirdly, I rather like it when I am told a restaurant is full; it excites me to know I am on to a good thing and makes me want to try even harder to get in. We were initially told there were no tables, but the reservations manager hardly sounded convincing and with only a modicum of gentle persuasion we were booked in for 1:30pm. Perhaps that should have alerted me to the fact that things aren’t quite what they used to be.

blank
blank

 

The Ivy
The Ivy

The Ivy wasn’t how I remembered it. It seemed darker. Maybe because it was raining outside, or maybe because the people who had just walked in before us, looked like they had arrived by coach (most of whom were donning a rucksack. What on earth were they carrying? A packed lunch perhaps in case the food was rubbish? Initial impressions were certainly that The Ivy ”crowd” isn’t what it once was. We downed a very good Bloody Mary at the empty bar before being seated in the dining room which was as buzzy as I remembered from previous visits.

 

We were sat next to outrageously drunk Finnish couple, who were arguing fiercely. She was crying, he could barely string a sentence together and they were throwing their food everywhere. It was seriously entertaining and I think the staff handled them brilliantly.  When the bill came they attempted several times to remember their pin number but after the fifth attempt gave up and staggered to the bar to continue drinking. I am sure we have all been there.

 

So, to the food: I had spinach and avocado salad with a blue cheese dressing to start with which was well presented, nicely balanced and very tasty; the Beard had leek and potato soup which was OK but it’s a shame it didn’t taste as good as it looked. To follow, I had the shepherd’s pie. It was quite good apart from the lashings of sweet, sticky gravy which did absolutely nothing for it. The Beard had a burger that was less than average. For a restaurant of The Ivy’s standing this was very disappointing. I still think the Berners Tavern burger is hard to beat.

 

The bill wasn’t too bad: £50 a head but this was without wine because the manager kindly let us have our drinks on the house for putting up with the Scandinavians so I guess we had something to thank them for. Was our visit worth it? Yes, because I wanted to see if the place still has it after all these years. Has it? Sadly not. Going to The Ivy these days feels like turning right onto an aircraft. Anyone who can eats upstairs at the private members’ club.

 

The Ivy, 1 – 5 West Street, London, WC2H 9NQ. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7836 4751.

 

Victoria Casewell-Lunn is a true foodie. She blogs as Eat, Drink, Lunn.

 

 

Subscribe to our free once daily email newsletter here:

     

    blank
    blank
    The Steeple Times
    The Steeple Times
    We research and background check our articles. If you believe we have made and error in some detail please get in touch, we seek always to write the truth and stand against a press owned by a self selected few. Please help us, we will accept all your likes, subscriptions and anonymous suport. The Editor and his team at the Steeple Times.

    8 COMMENTS

    1. The Ivy is dull and was a favourite of Lady Meyer. Cilla Black is a regular and so are Sir Christopher and Lady Meyer. Do I need to say more?

    2. Good honest review. I like the way that this blog is prepared to point out failings and isn’t filled with ridiculous photos taken by amateurs. Keep it up Victoria.

    3. The Ivy used to be great. Am surprised to hear this but I haven’t been in years. Used to love the atmosphere there and Fernando Peire was always very welcoming.

    4. In my foodie days, I once ghosted a chum’s food column at the Ivy for a Soho-based magazine, as he was ill. He had a scale of 10 heads by which he judged a restaurant called the ‘eater-meter’ – with the total being out of 100 and then divided by 10 to give a score from 1 to 10. I thought it was terrible, over-priced school food of no gastronomic merit whatsoever. My net score was 1/10, which I duly submitted with the write up. The editor was furious and rang me saying: “… but it’s people’s favourite restaurant.” To which my response was: “Well, the people that go there clearly have no idea what they are swilling down their screeches.” He forced me up to 1½/10 but I wouldn’t give way and he published. It was the best thing that magazine ever did, the letters column went through the roof, with about 60% agreeing with me.

      I’ve been a few time since, always as a guest, and have never rated it. Apart from indifferent food, it’s generally full of vulgar people watching the entrance to see who is coming in, the more pathetic of whom wave as if they know them.

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    £1 per week Supports The Steeple Times

    Help journalism to remain honest & independent. You can make a difference to the world today.

    3,023FansLike
    2,068FollowersFollow
    13,583FollowersFollow

    Subscribe For DAILY NEWS

    Please subscribe, like and share this unique site, it helps us tremendously. The Steeple Times in return will send you an email at noon each and everyday, that we sincerely hope you will enjoy & look forward to seeing in your inbox.

    AD
    Advertisement

    Trending Now

    Help Find William Cookson – Missing Since August 2022 From London, SW6

    London based artist William Cookson has been missing since early August; please help his family and friends find this much-loved 45-year-old.

    A £65 Million ‘Bargain’ Boat – Seized Oligarch Gin Palace For Auction

    As government of Gibraltar auctions a seized £65 million oligarch superyacht with interiors by Jeffrey Epstein’s favourite designer to ‘bargain seekers,’ Matthew Steeples asks: “Why haven’t other seized ‘questionable assets’ been sold off already?”

    Catching A Bargain Artists’ Studio In SW3

    Swanky renovated artists’ studio in ritzy South Kensington enclave for sale for just £375,000 – naturally, there’s a catch.

    Hero of the Hour 2022 – Crusading £1 Per Head Chef Miguel Barclay

    In actually showing the British public how to actually cook a meal costing no more than £1 per head, TV chef Miguel Barclay contributes something useful whereas the likes of food bank fighters Lee Anderson MP and Jack Monroe continue just to carp.

    Most Popular Artcles

    Who REALLY is Omid Scobie?

    An examination of the true character traits of the Duchess of Sussex’s PR peddling biased ‘bestie’ Omid Scobie by Nikolay Kalinin.

    Justice for James Scurlock

    Power of social media proven after senseless killing of James Scurlock in Omaha, Nebraska allegedly by a controversial bar owner named Jake Gardner who has been photographed with Donald Trump.

    Moron of the Moment – Prince Harry

    With his marriage to the woman formerly known as Meghan Markle, Prince Harry has morphed into an utter bore   Prince Harry used to be a...

    Scobie Orf!

    ‘MeGain’s’ bestie Omid Scobie deservedly gets slammed by ‘Yankee Wally’ Sadie Quinlan for getting her shut down on Twitter; this childish chap should now just ‘belt up, wrap up and shut up.’