The most famous restaurant in London isn’t Sketch or Sexy Fish or Scran by Heston. It’s one that even your 14-year old cousin in Carlisle will have heard of, because more people tend to care about famous people than restaurants, and also because everyone spends half their working day on The Daily Mail’s sidebar of shame. It’s the bloody Ivy, of course.
Despite outward appearances, there’s more to The Ivy than the chance to take bathroom selfies with Lara Stone or Kate Moss. This restaurant is all about first-rate service and ambience - it’s upmarket without feeling stiff, and casual while remaining elegant. Sure, if you’re going to people-watch anywhere in London, this is the place to do it, but you’ll get more out of it than you might have originally bargained for.
No one’s actually here for the food, of course, and in large part you’re paying for the privilege of ogling other diners, as well as being waited on by staff who actually have some idea of what they’re doing. But having said that, we’ve never had a bad meal here, as the posh brasserie food’s usually good, and often very good. They’ve added ‘pan-Asian’ to the menu, God help us, but stick to the British comfort food and you’ll be golden. Particularly, the shepherd’s pie, steaks, and mutton curry won’t disappoint.
It’s a classic destination for a glam date or a special meal, and definitely worth taking a shower and getting a bit tarted up for. If you play your cards right, you might be mistaken for one of Kate’s chums, and end up on the sidebar of shame yourself. Not that you’d be ecstatic about that, at all.