A year-round garden escape, the lush Ivy City Garden is a city retreat in London’s Square Mile. It’s one of a number of The Ivy Collection establishments, but the first with a London City location and opening as the group celebrates its centenary this year.
Known for his luxe restaurant interiors, Swedish-born designer Martin Brudnizki has certainly worked his magic here. With a stylish onyx bar, marble-tiled and parquet panel flooring, the elegant space is vibrant. Burnt-orange leather banquets and jewel-toned blue seating complement eclectic and colourful art pieces and glitzy metallic bar details. It’s also impressively draped with foliage with a retractable roof and floor-to-ceiling glass bi-fold doors opening out to the garden, where a water feature turns into a cosy fireplace come winter.
As it positions itself as an all-day dining spot, a friend and I visit for an early evening dinner. The menu is extensive and staff on hand with helpful pointers. Diners frequently opt for, and love, the chicken Milanese with fried egg and black truffle mayonnaise, and the signature beef Wellington for four people to share (must be pre-ordered). This classic fillet of beef is wrapped in truffled mushroom and puff pastry, with dauphinoise potatoes, greens, bone marrow and foie gras sauce – makes me hungry just writing about it.
On recommendation, we opt for the crispy duck salad and the barrata for our entrees. The Asian-inspired salad is zingy and delicious, with ginger, cucumber, cashews and a tamarind soy dressing, while the simple flavours of barrata paired with peach and almonds sets things off to a good start.
This classic fillet of beef is wrapped in truffled mushroom and puff pastry, with dauphinoise potatoes, greens, bone marrow and foie gras sauce – makes me hungry just writing about it.
For mains, the slow-roasted lamb shoulder is juicy and tender, with a crisp, herby mustard crust and rosemary jus. The roast half-chicken is deceiving. It looks fairly plain on the plate, served with watercress, but is packed with flavour and a very moreish sauce that complements its delightfully crispy skin.
The cocktail list is fantastic. There are ‘thirst quenchers’ like a peach pulp Bellini and an Ivy G&T, as well as the delightful-sounding candy floss fizz and the globetrotter’s punch (rum, lychee, kaffir lime, coriander, pineapple and chilli). Perhaps the most appealing is the classic champagne cocktail. Serving six, it has The Ivy Collection Champagne, rose, three-citrus sugar, orange bitters and bergamot mist.
A crème brûlée for dessert is an impressively large serving, but is overshadowed by the chocolate bomb. The spectacular chocolate sphere is surrounded by a fluffy milk foam and served with a pot of hot caramel sauce. Pouring the caramel over the chocolate melts away the sphere to reveal ice cream. What more could you want from a dessert? A well-balanced dish for the real sweet tooth, with lovely textures and a lot of fun.
At The Ivy City Garden, the fun needn’t end there. With that cocktail list, the glamorous but comfortable surrounds and a DJ setting up later, it seems like a good place to settle in for a while.
Images: Paul Winch-Furness/Ivy City London