The Ivy. Those two words conjure up images of the rich & famous, of opulence, glamour, a place to see and be seen. In 2017, The Ivy in Covent Garden celebrated its centenary; having begun life in 1917 as a modest café, it quickly gained in popularity becoming an iconic London destination, known the world over.
My home city of Cambridge is now home to The Ivy Brasserie; it’s one of the newest restaurants to join The Ivy Collection. Opening day was Wednesday 14th March 2018, and I was invited to join a Bloggers’ Breakfast that morning. Would The Ivy live up to its reputation?
Located at 16 Trinity Street in the heart of the city, as you approach you are met with a double-fronted entrance with almost floor-to-ceiling windows. The unmistakable Art Deco lettering adorns both windows and the fascia. The Ivy’s trademark Harlequin stained glass in the front doors sparkled in the early morning sunshine.
Walking in, I was struck by the decor – the walls are dripping with works of art. Brightly coloured modern prints – curated by Adam Ellis, drawing inspiration from Cambridge life – are juxtaposed with black & white line drawings and maps of a bygone Cambridge.
I was thrilled to see some familiar faces from the Cambridge blogging scene. It’s always fun to catch up with these lovely ladies, and we were joined by some new friends too. Katie Snow from The Ivy Collection and Amanda Bunn from Mobas also dined with us – they were able to tell us more about the restaurant and later showed us around.
You might expect the food portions to be on the small side, but not one of us was left hungry. I have to confess that I couldn’t finish my Eggs Royale. The perfectly cooked poached eggs sat on smoked salmon on top of a sliced white muffin. Over the top was the best Hollandaise sauce I think I’ve ever tasted. It was completely delicious.
To drink, I had The Ivy 1917 breakfast blend served in a silver teapot with enough tea for three cups. I chose the Beet It Juice (beetroot, carrot & apple) which was as light and refreshing as you would hope it to be. Staff were polite and attentive, without being over the top. Anything to improve? To be truthful, I can’t think of anything.
Open every day of the week, The Ivy opens for breakfast and offers elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and light bites. Wanting to be accessible to all, they always keep some tables free for walk-ins, although it probably is best to book if you have your heart set on going.
Just want a drink at the bar? That’s OK too – and what a bar! Its style reflects that of the central dining bar at The Ivy in Covent Garden, and knowledgeable staff in immaculate white uniform serve you. Choose something from their extensive drinks & wine menu, and you can enjoy some small bites at the bar too.
Downstairs there is a private dining room. Named The Boat Room, and decorated with further Cambridge references, it can accommodate 40 guests standing or 16 seated. On offer are a selection of menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with canapés available for receptions.
Their full dining menu features some Ivy classics, modern British dishes and mouth-watering desserts. From the classics, I’m intrigued by The Ivy shepherd’s pie, apparently a firm favourite. I don’t think it’ll be long before I return, this time with Rob, to try it out.
The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie did live up to my expectation. It was every bit as good as I had hoped. The price of the menu and the portion sizes were much better than I had anticipated. Whatever time of day you visit, I believe this is a first-rate addition to the Cambridge food experience for locals and visitors alike.
Bye for now!
Disclosure: My food and drinks were complimentary, and, as ever, all views expressed are my own.