When a little email landed in my inbox from Caprice Holdings telling me that the booking lines for The Ivy Market Grill were open, I immediately booked brunch for the Saturday after it opened. I've never been to The Ivy as everyone I've spoken to says the food isn't that great and it's all a bit outdated, however I've eaten at sister restaurant Le Caprice a number of times and love it there, so thought I'd give The Ivy's little sister a try.
The Ivy Market Grill has been designed as a more casual and relaxed younger sibling to the world-renowned original. Yesterday Jemima and I went to finally check it out. I had major issues getting there and while I'm usually early or bang on time to absolutely everything, I was a whole 50 minutes late. TFL decided to do roadworks on the Hyde Park Corner roundabout on the last Saturday in November (idiots), which meant it took me 45 minutes to just get from Belgravia to St James.
I then dashed onto the tube and managed to get to Covent Garden a disheveled and snivelling stressed-out mess. Jemima soon calmed me down and we ordered our food while taking in our surroundings. The restaurant feels very traditional and very similar to Corbin & King restaurants (those behind The Wolseley and The Delaunay etc). It's all dark woods and green, and quite similar to the original Ivy interior from looking at photos.
The Ivy prides itself on serving home-cooked food well, so I thought I'd put this to the test and ordered my favourite dishes; Eggs Benedict, Zucchini Fritti, and a Creme Brulee (hey, it was a stressful day ok). The Eggs Benedict was not your usual ham or bacon, oh no, this one was Avocado and Spinach (two of my favourite things), and it was delicious. Sadly my eggs weren't running *sob*, but apart from this it was absolutely perfect and just what I needed.
Jemima went for the Veggie Breakfast, which looked pretty tasty!
The Zucchini Fritti were much skinnier than I expected rather than nice big chunky pieces of Zucchini. Nevertheless they were still very tasty, albeit it a little too salty. The Creme Brulee was the piece de resistance though, it was perfect. I had an absolutely dreadful Creme Brulee last week with a soggy top (ugh!), so it was lovely to finally get a proper one. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that a good Creme Brulee is one of my favourite desserts, if you're knew...well...now you know.
The atmosphere in The Ivy Market Grill is calm and relaxed, with groups of women having lunch, an older couple enjoying one another's company, and a mother and daughter near us having a good ole catch up (their steak sandwiches looked pretty incredible!).
By the time we left the restaurant was emptying out, although some people were starting to arrive to have afternoon tea. The bill wasn't too much of a shocker, standard London really and very similar in price to brunch at the likes of Granger & Co and The Providores. What I did notice though was that they charge you for a teeny tiny bowl of nuts on the table, and they also charged us for what we thought was tap water (it was just water in their own bottles which had already been opened/weren't new or anything), which really annoyed me.
Anyway, overall it was a wonderful experience and I'll definitely be back. I really want to go in the evening and try out their dinner as the menu is full of classic favourites, and the bar looks so lovely! Also the great thing about Market Grill is that unlike it's older sibling, it's much more accessible - only half of the tables can be booked, the other half are for walk-ins!
Have you heard of any new restaurants in London that I should check out?