I had the pleasure of being invited to review the Ivy Cafe recently. Little sister to the famous west end haunt, it’s newly opened on the lovely Marylebone Lane serving an all-day menu, dinners and cocktails.
The ambience inside is great. It tips that nice balance of being pretty fancy with its art deco lighting and crisp tablecloths, but still buzzy and relaxed. It was full even on a freezing Monday evening so it was fortunate we could squeeze in. I’m in an aperitif phase right now so started with a delicious concoction of earl grey gin, orange and processo.
There isn’t a huge range of choice for vegetarians, but I was pleased that the offerings were at least much more imaginative than usual. I started with a beautiful white onion soup, dressed with sage and a parmesan-rich cheese straw. The ‘roasted butternut squash with grains’ main course didn’t sound that exciting on paper, but it was a lovely mix of textures from the mix of grains, seeds and soft feta cheese. Pomegranate seeds and harissa-coriander dressing gave a punchy flavour that’s often lacking from veggie restaurant food. Thumbs up.
Also, it was basically a salad so I definitely had room for dessert. The creme brulee was spot on, creamy with the all-important crisp caramel topping.
The website describes the Ivy Cafe as a ‘true neighbourhood restaurant’ and I’m inclined to agree. The food was a really tasty mix of classic but modern, and service was charming. If I was lucky enough to live in its environs I’d probably be popping in all the time for creme brulee and the really good chips. The brunch and all day menus sound pretty great too. Just as well I don’t live nearby, really…
I was a guest of the Ivy Cafe for my dinner.