I have to admit, posh restaurant intimidate me. The door holding, napkin fluffing, bill spiralling out of control in my mind (even if I'm not paying) it's enough to make a girl lose her appetite. Well, almost. Having looked at the menu online as soon as the PR confirmed I could have a table last Monday, I was overwhelmed by the options. The Ivy! I have a table! On a Saturday night! I hadn't even considered the food and I didn't want to let myself down with a bad order.
A bit of a twitter-please-don't-think-I'm-a-pretentious-twat-plea on Saturday got a reply from the lovely Alice (fellow Bride-y) with guidance just in the nick of time: 'Lucky thing! The poulet des landes for 2 is a-mazing, all truffly - the best chicken you'll ever eat. Also good is the steak tartare, tempura and burger, and great creme brulee. Jealous!'
Once through the opened-door, sat at the pulled-out-for-us table and napkins fluffed, I check-out the menu again (while also trying to do a quick celeb scout - I admit it, I'm shallow). There were no celebrities I could see sadly, although there was a lot of moustaches as well and a man with a full on lego-hair wig.
'It says "No mobile phones and no photos",' says the bro.
This blog review could be difficult... iPhone under the palm of my hand at the ready. The Ivy will not outwit me.
First up I went for the Grilled Squid and Chorizo Salad (apologies for the poor quality of the pictures, being a food spy is tough).
Gorgeously tender strips of squid with chorizo, parsely and red cabbage. The brother went for the same, the mother the Hot Smoked Duck and Provence Fig Salad and Choux Boy the recommended Steak Tartare. Thumbs up all round.
Round two - it had to be the Roast Poulet for two with the Boy.
This is what heaven tastes like. I mistakenly started on the breast, which was lovely but the leg was where all that amazing foie gras goodness was, but by the time I came to it I was rather full on the breast and incredible truffley pommes sarladaise. I didn't want it to stop but unfortunately with a high waisted skirt and belt on (even after loosening it two notches), I had to. Or I would explode. And I didn't think The Ivy was the kind of joint I could ask for a doggie bag. If you were ever foolish enough not to go for the chicken, the bro had Roasted Venision with bashed neeps and elderberry sauce (thumbs up) and the mother Wild Mushroom Risotto (good but, hey, it's risotto. I made something very similar the next night with wild mushrooms and truffle oil, she should have just waited).
Two bottles of wine and one of champagne down by this point, we were flagging but dessert menus came and the in-for-a-penny-in-for-a-(lot of)-pound mentality kicked in: one crème brûlèe (me and the mother), honeycomb ice cream with hot chocolate sauce (served freshly hot in a little milk jug) for the Boy and cheese plate for bro.
And yes those are gorgeous little specks of fresh black vanilla you can see on the bottom of the bowl. Mmmm.... It was worth it.
1-5 West Street
020 7836 4751http://www.the-ivy.co.uk/