I can’t say that I’ve ever had a bad experience at an Ivy restaurant. The interior design is always stunning, their service attentive, and the food is flawless. I was so pleased to see that they continue to make an effort to improve their vegan offerings too.
During my visit to their St. John’s Wood location, I enjoyed a refreshing kiwi martini while waiting for the food to arrive. It was tangy and not too sweet, pretty close to perfect for a flavoured martini.
For my starter, I had the Garden Pea and Nettle soup. The broth was poured over crumbled Greek-style “cheese” and crushed peas. It was garnished with the most beautiful purple flowers and tasted as good as it looked!
Next up, my main course was the Tossed Asian Salad, a masterclass in balancing flavours and far from the boring salad options a lot of restaurants suffer from. A warm salad of beansprouts, pak choi, watermelon, broccoli, cashew nuts, sesame and coriander with hoisin sauce. The watermelon lent a crisp, juicy counterpoint to the expertly prepared vegetables.
They also offered a vegan main course option, the Grilled Asparagus Salad, which consisted of a Ras el Hanout (blend of Moroccan herbs and spices), couscous, baby gem lettuce, red pepper purée, pistachio and herbs. I fully intend to sample this on my next visit!
For dessert, I chose the Almond Panna Cotta. It is unusual to find a vegan Panna Cotta, as it is usually set with gelatin. It’s lovely to see The Ivy embracing Agar Agar as their setting agent. If only more restaurants would follow their lead. The Panna Cotta was served with rhubarb and raspberry sauce, Amaretto, crispy almond tuile, and gold flakes.
I love rhubarb. We used to steal it from the garden, dip it in sugar to offset the tartness and eat it raw when we were kids. It definitely needs to be stewed in sugar before you can eat it, making it not the healthiest to have, but it’s worth it, much like the calories in this triumph of a desert.
The Ivy has grown from one location in the West End to over 30 sites across the UK and Ireland. Overall I’d give The Ivy a 10/10 for effort on their vegan options; it’s definitely worth paying them a visit!