The Ivy – Birmingham

if i said to you ‘The Ivy’ you’d probably get images of the star-studded restaurant in London and think of a huge waiting list and high prices.

What if we told you that The Ivy has expanded and now has more local restaurants in some of the UK’s greatest places, including Brighton, Leeds and Birmingham and that at the end of the meal you won’t feel like a pelican with a whopping great big bill in front of you?

We booked The Ivy for our 1st wedding anniversary on 24th May; the anniversary is actually the 26th, but we had tickets for a show so decided to celebrate early!

The menu at The Ivy is varied with classic British dishes such as fish and chips or shepherd’s pie contrasting perfectly with more modern, international fare such as monkfish and prawn curry or crab linguine. With that in mind, The Ivy seems to offer something for all tastes.

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The beautiful rainbow of flowers outside were presumably there as the weekend saw Birmingham’s pride celebrations taking place. Walking through the door we were greeted by the host who was wearing a fantastic flowered suit which really suited his personality.

The inside of The Ivy, whilst having some eccentric twists in the decor is also very classy as you’d imagine with inspiration being taken from the original Ivy.

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We made an amateur mistake of ordering wine prior to hearing what the day’s specials were! Thinking we were going to opt for a chicken or pork based dish we opted for a bottle of Verdejo, Cuatro Reas from the Rueda region of Spain at £26 per bottle.

On hearing the special dishes we realised we’d want a red wine to go with the fillet steak with duck liver parfait we ordered at £32 each. As we’d already started on the Verdejo it was too late to change so we  ordered a bottle of Nero d’Avola from Sicily which was a bargain at £19.95 per bottle. Not a classic with fillet steak but we know the wine suits our tastes.

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Our steaks arrived and as you’d expect from a restaurant such as The Ivy they were cooked to perfection. Mine was BLUE – I put that in capitals as so many restaurants seem to struggle with the concept or don’t believe the customer genuinely wants a blue steak,

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As you can see from the picture the portion is quite large and we certainly felt it was worth the price paid. This was probably the best fillet steak I’ve ever had,

To accompany our meal we ordered a side of truffle and Parmesan chips and a portion of sprouting broccoli – the Parmesan and truffle whilst both being rich flavours worked together and didn’t compete with each other. The broccoli was wonderfully al dente and the lemon oil brought out the flavour of the young veggies perfectly.

We were unsure about whether to have a dessert, and as we had a show to go to we didn’t want to be too full and therefore declined. We were pleasantly surprised that the restaurant gave us two beautiful miniature raspberry tarts.

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The attention to detail of the small chocolate together with the smooth creme patissiere rounded off an excellent meal. We’d normally dine later in the evening hence not ordering a ‘proper’ dessert.

In terms of service we’d rate it very good; the shift changeover happened while we were sat at the table so it seemed a little odd to have two different waitresses, and we also prefer not to be interrupted whilst eating with the question “is everything O.K.?”. Whilst we completely understand the reason why restaurants do this and it is something I had to do whilst I began to embark on a career in hospitality I for one would prefer attentive service whereby the wait staff know if something is wrong, rather than be asked after just placing a fork-full of food in my mouth.

We had an absolutely excellent time at The Ivy and enjoyed the food more than the previous visit we had for my birthday last year. We will definitely back.

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