Thursday, 14 January 2010

At the Ivy

I ventured out to Leicester Square yesterday evening, the aim being to seek out a much-lauded and hailed restaurant called The Ivy. Armed with my map I found it quite easily: It is just off Charing Cross Road, down Litchfield Street. The Ivy is literally opposite St Martin's Theatre, where The Mouse Trap still plays.

The Time was four-fifty; the Ivy didn't open till five-thirty; so I re-traced my footsteps on to Charing Cross Road and encountered a small bar called The Porcupine, where I had a small restorative.

At five twenty-five, I drank up and made straight for the Ivy. The staff at this restaurant are exceptionally courteous, which softens the obligatory 12.5% service charge and £2 "cover" charge. I advised them that I hadn't booked; she inquired if I had a theatre booked (no); showed me to a table; offered to relieve me of my very heavy British Warm overcoat and hat; handed me a plastic card for the cloakroom on departure; and even brought me a newspaper, since I was on my own.

They have plenty of staff wafting about, keeping an eye on patrons attentively. I was brought a basket of fresh, crusty bread and a dish of flavourful butter.

I ordered the slow-cooked Cornish lamb shoulder with roasted winter vegetables; and also had a side dish of honey-baked parsnips with thyme. The lamb was delicious; it was absolutely tender, with little fat at all. Slow-cooked indeed and succulent; a generous portion, too. The couple beside me had just arrived, and the chap liked the look of my lamb so much that he ordered it himself! I had made a wise choice.

I washed it down with a glass of Chardonnay wine.

I had sticky toffee pudding for dessert, accompanied by a little jug of pouring cream.

The experience was all quite civilized. I'd certainly return.


Anonymous said...

I always imagined it was a bit 'nouveau,' you'd much prefer Wiltons on Jermyn St.


Sharon Owens said...

Sounds fabulous!!! Good for you, venturing in alone. Glad it was worth it!!!

Timothy Belmont said...

Now that's an idea; eaten at Wiltin's, W?

At least that's one advantage of eating solo, Sharon: Quite often they can fit you in without notice. The couple beside me booked 2 months ago.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we usually go when there, or Simpson's (which is cheaper, but not so pretentious! ha) when we're over. I hope you have had a good break.


Jenny said...

oooh I am jealous! I've never been to the Ivy. Sounds fab.

Timothy Belmont said...

Ha ha! These establishments have left a hole in my wallet, Jenny.

I ate at the Wolseley this evening; more tomorrow! :-)

Anonymous said...

Yes the Porcupine in Leicester Square , a jolly fine Public House , I loved its square bar layout and selection of ales on draft , wifey had to drag me away in time to catch our show otherwise I'd have sampled a lot more pumps , CAMRA would have been proud of me doing the necessary research.