Last weekend I had the pleasure of dining at the new Ivy Victoria, which has opened only recently in the space formerly occupied by Jamie’s Italian on Victoria Street. Like the Ivy Chelsea, where I have had many enjoyable meal the new Ivy Victoria is just splendidly beautiful. The place had been decorated with magnificent flowers and wonderfully strong colours. I had heard that the Ladies loo was particularly amazing and — guess what — it was! The staff were very welcoming, a good deal more than most other good restaurants in town, and the management was extremely professional and charming. In so many restaurants it is very difficult to catch the eye of your server when you need him or her. It is almost as if the first thing they are taught is how not to catch the eye of any customer. So it was with great pleasure that our waitress was always there whenever we needed or wanted her to be.
Although there are three or four different dining spaces, the one I liked was the back of the restaurant, out of the main action and the buzz. It was a bit quieter, which for me is very important. Today restaurants seem to put a great premium on how noisy they are, and often even put music on in case the noise level is not high enough. Actually, when I dine with my friends, I want to talk to them, not shout or be overwhelmed by other peoples’ conversations, or even by music that I don’t know or care about. Accordingh the back room at the Ivy Victoria is perfect from my point of view for a private, happy occasion.
On to the food, however. The menu is, unsurprisingly, very similar to the other new Ivy restaurants, and is accessible for every kind of appetite and budget. Over last weekend, I went for dinner on Friday night and brunch on the following Sunday, so that I could taste as many of the menu choices as possible. On Friday night, my guest and I shared truffle arancini, which are small fried rice balls with truffle and cheese We also had a big basket of zucchini fritti, which consists of crispy courgette fries with a lemon, chill mint yoghurt dressing. I am quite familiar with each of these delicacies, as I almost always order them at the Ivy Chelsea, and, I would truly say that no matter what time you choose to dine at the Ivy Victoria, these two specialitie are the best way to start any meal.
My guest then had traditional fish and chips, because that is the way she tesi the measure of any British restaurant, and this version did not disappoint. The cod was battered with very light and tasty batter, and the mushy peas were just what she grew up to enjoy. For my own part, I liked th thick cut chips better. I chose the duck liver pate with caramelised onions, truffle pear and ginger compote. This was accompanied by delicious brioche toast. This dish could have been a meal in itself, even though it is billed as a starter.
We then shared another starter of truffled wild mushrooms, which I had never had before. It consisted of potato rosti, creamed mushrooms, fried quails eggs and grated truffle. This combination was new to me and very filling. It, too, could have been a main course on its own. By now you must have figured out that we love truffles, and there were many places to find them on the extensive menu. With all of these small dishes put together, we were very full by the time we left the restaurant, so sadly we had to skip dessert, which I often find to be my favourite part of the meal. Still, I knew that I would be returning on Sunday for brunch, so I was not too disappointed, and knew I was already going to roll home and find many calories all over my scales in the morning.
On Sunday, as promised, I returned to the Ivy Victoria at about 12.30pm. Brunch was being served, but with many other choices as well. We dined on smoked salmon and haddock fishcakes, which was determined by my guest to be the perfect version of a classic English standby, with crushed peas and herb sauce, and a soft poached hen’s egg. My other friend had the aromatic duck curry, which was served with a coconut-based sauce over chilli, sweet potato and jasmine rice. I myself had crispy duck salad, which I have been eating since I started to go to Le Caprice in 1993. It has always been my favourite salad, Mäth toasted cashews, watermelon, beansprouts, sesame seeds, coriander and ginger, all mixed up with lots of pieces of crisp) duck. I believe many other fans of Le Caprice would also agree, and it is so nice to find an old friend on a new neighbourhood menu.
At this lunch we did have dessert, and we shared an apple tart and ice cream which was perfect for us. By the time we left at 3.00pm in the afternoon, we felt pampered and very well looked after, and very full. Based on the smiles ( the people who were dining when we left, together with the fact that it is almost impossible to get a reservation now, I am sure that this restaurant is going to be a huge hit. I hope that I will be dining there very often, because I prefer places with all-day dining, since one meal at 3.oopm on a Sunday can be a lovely way to finish the afternoon – and still get home in time to see The Crown.
Congratulations to the new staff in their new restaurant at their new location.
— I wish them great success.