The Ivy City Garden

With this review, we had the opportunity to enjoy one of those experiences we all cherish as new City dwellers: the discovery of a backwater route and haven tucked away off Old Broad Street which we never knew existed.  Of course, I’d passed the church before, but I never realised that the St Botolph without Bishopsgate gardens also host tennis and netball courts (if you are interested, you can book with the church).

The Ivy extended its branches this way into East London a few years ago and is part of The Ivy Collection of 36 (and counting) restaurants and cafes which are firmly planted in every corner of the UK.  The siblings honour the quality and relaxed sophistication of their eponymous parent which is still going strong after 102 years.

Even in the depths of winter, The Ivy City Garden cheers you up no end.  Colourful décor and floor to ceiling windows giving out onto the greenery of the secret garden evoke a colonial conservatory comfort.  It is open 7 days a week for breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.

The indoor/outdoor vibe makes for a very bright and open dining ambience

The all-day dining choices are more than enough to tempt, and the menu has a very respectable vegetarian partner.  For those of your already familiar, The Ivy’s classic shepherd’s pie is present and correct!

We began with cocktails at the bar.  I particularly appreciate that you don’t have to immediately fly to your table here.  One delicious but dangerous jaffa cake inspired ‘Jaffa Sour’ later was the appropriate time to sit down, recover and take stock.

Jaffa Sour coupette – Vanilla-infused Wyborowa Vodka, Fortunella Kumquat Liqueur, Mozart Dark Chocolate Liqueur, lemon juice, sugar, Ms. Better’s Bitters foam or egg white £9.50

My partner (who was designated responsible for the directions on the walk home) played it safe with the ‘Elderflower Garden’ which was a refreshing non-alcoholic alternative.

Elderflower Garden – Seedlip Garden, Æcorn Dry non-alcoholic aperitif, elderflower cordial and Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic, garnished with cucumber ribbon and edible flowers £5.95

At the table we started with sweet, buttery, and delicate scallops which were seared perfectly and warm throughout so all praise there.

Seared Atlantic scallops – cauliflower purée, caper butter, tamarind glaze, apple batons and a golden crumb £13.75

My vegetarian partner chose the mushroom rosti which prompted an ‘oh my god, that is good’ and she doesn’t even particularly like mushrooms.  The mushrooms melted in the mouth and the silky sauce was irresistible.

Truffled wild mushrooms (v) – potato rösti, creamed mushroom, fried quail’s egg and grated truffle £8.95

Starters include:

Roast pumpkin soup (v) – creamed pumpkin with truffle ricotta, pine nuts and crispy sage £6.95

Yellowfin tuna carpaccio – cucumber, baby basil with an apple, jalapeño and avocado sauce £10.95

Crispy duck salad – warm crispy duck with five spice dressing, toasted cashews, watermelon, beansprouts, sesame seeds, coriander and ginger £9.50

Truffled wild mushrooms (v) – potato rösti, creamed mushroom, fried quail’s egg and grated truffle £8.95

The Ivy Cure smoked salmon – black pepper, lemon, and dark rye bread £10.75

The Ivy Cure smoked salmon and crab – a quenelle of crab and dill cream, lemon, dark rye bread £13.75

Lobster risotto – samphire, basil, Arborio rice, finished with a shellfish foam £13.95

Jackfruit and peanut bang bang salad (Vegan) – Chayote, Chinese leaf, mooli, crispy wonton, peanuts, sesame seeds and coriander £8.50

Stracciatella di bufala (v) – crispy artichokes, pear and truffle honey £11.95

Shellfish cocktail – lobster, prawn, crab and brown shrimps with avocado, cherry tomatoes, Marie Rose sauce £14.95

Tempura prawns – crunchy fried Nobashi prawns with pickled mooli, cucumber, edamame and a matcha tea sauce £11.95

Steak tartare – hand-cut raw beef striploin with a Tabasco mustard dressing, cornichons, shallot, parsley, egg yolk and toasted granary £9.95

Duck liver parfait – caramelised hazelnuts, truffle, pear and ginger compote, toasted brioche £8.50

Seared Atlantic scallops – cauliflower purée, caper butter, tamarind glaze, apple batons and a golden crumb £13.75

Avocado and tomato cocktail – red pepper, lettuce and pomegranate dressed with a spicy harissa sauce (Vegan) £9.50

Tossed Asian salad – warm salad of beansprouts, pak choi, watermelon, broccoli, cashew nuts, sesame and coriander with hoisin sauce (Vegan) £8.50

For the main course, I opted for the no holds barred, richest, beefiest ribeye medium rare with a red wine jus which brought out the flavour of the beef marvellously.

Rib-eye on the bone 12oz/340g – 21 day Himalayan Salt Wall dry-aged, grass-fed, UK rib-eye steak £32.95

Steaks include:

Sirloin 8oz/227g – 21 day Himalayan Salt Wall dry-aged £24.95

Fillet of beef 7oz/198g – Succulent, prime centre cut, grass-fed £29.95

Rib-eye on the bone 12oz/340g – 21 day Himalayan Salt Wall dry-aged, grass-fed, UK rib-eye steak £32.95

Steak tartare – hand-cut raw beef striploin with a Tabasco mustard dressing, cornichons, shallot, parsley, egg yolk and thick cut chips £21.75

Sauces include:

Béarnaise • Green peppercorn • Hollandaise • Wild mushroom – £3.50 each

Truffle red wine jus – £4.50

Lobster & herb butter – £7.95

Other Mains include:

The Ivy shepherd’s pie – slow-braised lamb leg with beef, Wookey Hole Cheddar potato mash and a truffle sauce £14.95

Roasted half chicken – off the bone with crispy skin, smoked aubergine purée, tomatoes, peppers and a Moroccan sauce £17.50

Miso black cod fillet – Baked black cod, hoba leaf, pickled fennel and a miso sauce £29.50

The Ivy vegetarian shepherd’s pie (v) – Truffle-stuffed king oyster mushrooms with quinoa, chickpeas, roasted peppers, aubergine and a Moroccan tomato sauce £14.95

Aromatic duck curry – Coconut-based Keralan sauce with chilli, choy sum, sweet potato and jasmine rice £18.95

Iberico pork – Roasted pork cutlet with cep butter, creamed potato, baked apple and Calvados cream sauce £22.95

Salmon and smoked haddock fish cake – crushed pea and herb sauce with a soft poached hen’s egg and baby watercress £15.50

Keralan sweet potato curry (Vegan) – Choy sum, broccoli, coriander and coconut with steamed jasmine rice £15.50

Roast butternut squash with grains (v) – Buckwheat, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, sesame and pomegranate with crumbled feta cheese, harissa sauce and coriander dressing £14.25

Roast fillet of salmon – sprouting broccoli, Champagne and caper cream sauce £17.50

Fish & chips – Traditional battered cod served with mashed peas, thick cut chips and tartare sauce £16.50

Chicken Milanese – Brioche-crumbed chicken breast with a fried egg, Parmesan and truffle cream sauce £18.50

Turbot meunière – Whole turbot, beurre noisette, lemon, caper and parsley £34.95

Lobster linguine – Tomato and chilli sauce with San Marzanino tomatoes, parsley and spring onion £29.50

The Ivy hamburger – Chargrilled in a potato bun with mayonnaise, horseradish ketchup and thick cut chips £15.50

Grilled sea bass fillet – Smoked aubergine, tomato pesto and a tomato, olive, shallot and coriander dressing £23.95

Wild mushroom risotto (v) – Vicenza cheese, toasted pine nuts with sage and rocket salad £13.95

Halloumi open sandwich (v) – grilled halloumi, crushed avocado, black olives, red pepper, San Marzanino tomatoes, watercress and yuzu sauce £12.95

Jackfruit and peanut bang bang salad (Vegan) – Chayote, Chinese leaf, mooli, crispy wonton, peanuts, sesame seeds and coriander £13.95

My healthy and better half chose the vegetarian version of The Ivy’s famous shepherd’s pie and claimed that it was like eating art because it was so beautifully constructed.  This was a very generous portion and so I felt obliged to offer some assistance: lots of mushrooms and grains and you would be forgiven for thinking that the host had delivered the meat dish in error!

The Ivy vegetarian shepherd’s pie (v) – Truffle-stuffed king oyster mushrooms with quinoa, chickpeas, roasted peppers, aubergine and a Moroccan tomato sauce £14.95

To accompany the mains we chose some scrumptious truffled parmesan chips and sweet potato chunks.

Truffle and Parmesan chips £5.50

The difficult dessert decision-making debate dictated a blackberry sundae which was a good outcome in my state of indecision; it had everything: meringue, ice cream, shortbread, mousse and warm sauce.

Blackberry ice cream sundae – vanilla ice cream with meringue, roasted hazelnuts, blackberry mousse, shortbread and a warm blackberry sauce £8.95

We also couldn’t resist the malted banana ice cream which also had the perfect combination of treats in one bowl to satisfy my dining partner’s chocolate brownie addiction.

Malted banana ice cream –  chocolate brownie, caramelised banana, candied pecans and cocoa nib tuile £7.75

Desserts range in price from £3.75 to £9.50 and include:

Crème brûlée – Rum baba – Chocolate bombe – Mixed berries with yoghurt sorbet and warm white chocolate sauce – Fruit plate with coconut “yoghurt” and chia seeds (Vegan) – Apple tart (and Calvados flambé with 14 mins cooking time) – Malted banana ice cream – Mini chocolate truffles -Selection of fruit sorbets (Vegan) – Ice creams and sorbets – Blackberry ice cream sundae

You could also choose the selection of three cheeses –  Fourme d’Ambert, Cornish Yarg and Camembert from Normandy with pear chutney, rye crackers £10.95

There is a very comprehensive wine list to suit every budget with bottles ranging in price from £24 to over £1,000  There are plenty available in the mid-price £25-60 range and several available by the glass for light drinkers, or for those who wish to limit what can become a hugely expensive part of the dinin-out experience.

All in all, this is a great place and The Ivy have found the sweet spot with their Collection; the combination of location, décor and menu gift us with a destination suitable for every occasion.  The secret garden with its retractable roof is enough of a reason alone to take a stroll and taste what’s on offer here.

The Ivy City Garden, Dashwood House, 69 Old Broad St, EC2M 1QS

Monday – Friday: 7.30am-00.00am (last booking 10pm)

Saturday: 11am-00.00am (last booking 10pm)

Sundays & Bank Holidays: 11am-6pm (last booking 4pm)

Book on their website theivycitygarden.com or call 0203 146 7744

Review by Angus Mylne