BY CHARLIE STONG
A night at The Ivy used to be the reserve of the rich and famous – A-listers would go there simply to be seen.
But with the famous restaurant now branching out with a number of smaller Ivy cafes, a little slice of the glitz and glamour of the legendary West End diner has not only been brought closer to home, but is now far more affordable for the average punter.
We – that’s me and my wife, Hayley, paid a visit to the recently opened Ivy Café, Blackheath – already one of my favourite areas of South London, and even more so now.
We were warmly welcomed by the friendly staff and shown to our table in one corner of the restaurant and soon presented with two glasses of Prosecco and a dish of tasty almonds while we browsed the menu.
The menu is not too long as to leave you feeling like you’ve been presented with a copy of War and Peace – a mistake often made – but it also has something to accommodate most tastes.
Hayley doesn’t eat fish so when we go out to a restaurant I usually take the chance to eat as much of it as is on offer.
The smoked salmon starter was beautifully presented – one whole square piece of smoked fish presented flat on a plate exactly the same size. It was fantastic, as was Hayley’s asparagus with hollandaise sauce.
For mains Hayley went for the shepherd’s pie, arguably The Ivy’s signature dish, and the meat – superb chunks rather than simple mince – was, I am told, excellent.
For me the whole baked sea bass. The fish was fantastically presented – with meat de-boned and placed back inside the fish served with baby plum tomatoes, fennel, Nocellara olives and a caper and shallot dressing. It was one of the best pieces of sea bass I have tasted.
We hardly had room for dessert but still couldn’t resist, Hayley plumping for the cheese selection and me the chocolate bombe, all washed down with a very reasonably priced bottle of Acacia Tree chenin blanc and a glass of limoncello to cap off a perfect night.
The restaurant was packed, this being the Thursday before Easter, but you get the feeling it will be most night – certainly at weekends.
At £132.30 the bill was obviously pricier that some restaurants but I thought, more than reasonable considering where we were and the fact we had three courses, a bottle of wine and more drinks to start and finish.
A superb night out in a grand yet relaxed restaurant in the perfect setting overlooking the heath – with wonderful, attentive service.
Next time you fancy a posh night out which will not completely break the bank, head down to Blackheath – you won’t be disappointed.
2 glasses of Prosecco – £12
1 bottle of Acacia Tree Chenin Blanc – £22
1 filtered still water bottle – £1.50
2 glasses of limoncello – £15
2 Americano coffees – £6.50
1 asparagus and truffle with hollandaise sauce – £7.95
1 oak smoked salmon – £9.50
1 shepherd’s pie – £13.95
1 whole baked sea bass – £18.95
1 chocolate bombe – £8.50
1 cheese selection – £9.95
1 smoked almonds – £3.25
1 peas and sugar snaps – £3.25
Charlie was a guest of The Ivy, Blackheath