I recently visited the Ivy Soho Brasserie in London and wanted to write a review as it was honestly one of the best restaurant experiences I have had in London.
Is it just me or does there seem to be an Ivy on every street corner these days? There is one in Tunbridge Wells. I am always looking around for the best restaurants in London and, slowly but surely, I am discovering the cool places to eat in London.
The Ivy is known as one of the trendy restaurants in London where all the celebrities and cool kids hang out. I came here with my parents before going to the theatre and the meal turned into one of those blow-out birthday meals where before you know it you have eaten a starter, main and dessert, and thrown a few different drinks down the hatch as well.
The walls pay homage to Soho’s music scene and the walls are a kaleidoscopic mish mash of coloured artwork and photos, all puzzled in with mathematical precision. The walls and interior are an assault on the senses and there is just so much to look at.
It seems to be the younger more fun little sister of the Kensington restaurant and it feels more club-like and free-spirited. It has a loud and chatty atmosphere which made this a really fun restaurant in London, as sometimes fancy restaurants in London can be on the quiet and pretentious side!
The Ivy menu
The menu is a mix of the British classics with an Ivy twist and standout items for me that I wanted to try included the jackfruit and peanut bang bang salad, the salmon and smoked haddock fish cake, the Ivy shepherd’s pie and swordfish steak.
The standout items on the dessert menu were the melting chocolate bombe, cappuccino cake and pistachio and raspberry ice cream sundae.
The brunch menu looks good with roast beef sandwich, eggs benedict and chips, buttermilk pancakes and eggs royale all on the menu.
To celebrate turning two years old, the Brasserie has created a ‘Soho Calling’ cocktail menu of 10 new cocktails honouring the UK’s best musicians and Soho’s iconic musical heritage. Whether you are a Bowie, Stones, Beatles or Verve fan, you will be sure to find a cocktail to suit you.
What we ate
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the food here and the service is friendly and attentive. The type of place where they get out a little silver table duster to dust some crumbs off the white linen tablecloth and refill your glass multiple times before it’s even empty.
For starters we had the steak tartar, which arrived on a wooden plank with a clear plastic box on top. There was a smoking charcoal with a sprig of rosemary on the board, next to the steak which is busy hotboxing the steak with smoke. When the box is lifted, it sends a cascade of aromatic smoke up into the air. It is really nice touch and gives the steak tartar a really lovely smoky flavour with a sunny yellow egg yolk sitting on top.
We also had a crab and apple salad with cucumber, watermelon, radish, edamame and coriander, as well as the classic prawn cocktail with baby gem, avocado, cherry tomatoes and Marie Rose sauce. Both were beautifully presented and tasty.
For main courses we had the Ivy hamburger, which was chargrilled in a potato bun with mayonnaise, horseradish ketchup and thick cut chips, the main course version of the steak tartar and the blackened cod fillet baked in a banana leaf with a soy and sesame marinade, citrus-pickled fennel, grilled broccoli, chilli and yuzu mayonnaise. The cod was perfectly cooked, and the broccoli was lovely and crunchy and was the perfect contrast to the soft and delicate cod.
For dessert we shared the selection of three cheeses which was plenty to go around three of us as we were all so full from the main courses!
What we drank
One standout cocktail that we had was the Ziggy Stardust (1972) made with Ketel One Citroen vodka, Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curaçao, vanilla syrup, lemon juice and blackberry Champagne foam. It looked too good to drink and was absolutely delicious! We could easily have drunk a few more but alas, we had to concentrate through a theatre performance from Tom Hiddleston and we did not want to miss a second of him!
Perfect place to come if you want to dip your toes into one of the most famous restaurants in London. It may not be the OG Ivy, but it’s a good, accessible alternative where you can certainly save a few bob. Plus, it’s a really cool restaurant in London if you are heading out into the bars or theatres of Soho.
Good for: If you have a special occasion and want to find a cool place to eat in London or a fun London restaurant, then this is the place to be! It is easily one of the best restaurants in Soho. Hen parties, birthday meals, special occasions, posh brunches and dates.
My overall Ivy Soho Brasserie review is that it’s what you might call the champagne lifestyle on the coca-cola budget.