It's taken me quite a long time to jot down my thoughts on the Ivy, mainly because even up until now, I don't have much of an opinion. For many years, I had wondered what lay behind those stained glass windows, of what had attracted all those "celebrities" in the past, of what gave it that mystique. It's veil of secrecy definitely piqued my interest and when the suggestion to visit for a "work team lunch" was mooted, I nodded in agreement.
I was kind of excited. After all these years, I finally got to see what lay behind those multi-coloured windows. Once inside, I found a room buzzing with atmosphere, filled with those who had clearly frequented the Ivy for many years alogside those who clearly hadn't. The stained glass adds much colour to a classic look, I was genuinely beginning to be swept up in it all.
The menu reads like that off a gastropub. Simple hearty dishes with a few cheery additions, but unfortunately the actual delivery was slightly lacklustre and smacked of "make do". My starter of mozzarella was pleasant enough, with an avocado pesto adding a nice and interesting dimension, but ultimately all tasting a bit ordinary.
Duck was also ok. A simple confit with some well cooked new potatoes on the side. Filling and a decent enough lunch, but the whole experience left me feeling somewhat underwhelmed.
It's clear that people are here for the atmosphere, intrigue and maybe even the chance to spot a "celebrity". I would be quite surprised if it were just for the food. I'm glad I went, but I doubt I will be seen there again, even if I ever reach that "celebrity" status.
The Ivy - 1-5 West Street, London WC2H 9NQ