The Meetings Show
Emirates Old Trafford
Smart Group - Electric Xmas

The Ivy Kensington Brasserie

The bar at the Ivy Kensington Brasserie

The new Ivy Kensington Brasserie rocks a relaxed and casual vibe more so than its big sister The Ivy – which will always be a slight cut above many – yet it’s nonetheless impressive, confidently retaining the original’s trademarks of quality and elegance.

I visit late Tuesday afternoon. My reservation is booked for 6.30 but I find myself unexpectedly and uncharacteristically early – by nearly an hour. Was this going to be a problem I wonder? Not in the slightest. Would I like to take a seat at the bar? Naturally. As I walk through the doors I am immediately taken with the beautiful furnishings magicked up by critically acclaimed Martin Brudnizki Design Studio.

I perch on one of the tall vintage-style leather stools aligning the antique pewter bar and take in the detailing: brass light fittings, decorative mirrors, marble flooring and hundreds of pretty origami birds suspended overhead, running the length of the room, it really is a lovely setting. I defy even the most hard-to-please soul not to coo.

Richard Moore, the restaurant’s charming General Manager joins me and introduces Bar Manager, Sean Jackson, who I learn previously worked onboard The World – the largest private residential ship. Richard insists I try a variety of cocktails from the specially curated cocktail list whilst we chat, (it features twelve bespoke concoctions) which I’m told underwent a month long tasting process.

We start with The Ivy Kensington Royale – raspberries marinated with hibiscus, Sipsmith sloe gin, orange bitters and lime, topped with champers; it is refreshing and light. Next comes Tea Time Tipple, warning: this wet martini certainly has a kick. We go off menu when Sean hears I’m partial to a cheeky whisky and conjures up a Sazerac – a New Orleans version of a whisky cocktail – it is velvety bliss and certainly one that gents will appreciate. We finish off with ‘A road less travelled’ an intriguing and strange but delicious combination of wine and rum. The drinks alone are enough of a reason to come here.

The restaurant is beginning to fill up; ‘Forty per-cent of tables are held back for walk-ins’ I’m told. Refreshing to hear, especially in this part of town.

My dinner companion arrives and we take our seats. We entrust our ordering to the friendly staff’s expertise. Proceedings kick off with an appetizer of risotto balls – light and full of flavour, they kick-start my taste buds back to life, after the potent cocktails have knocked them for six. Steak Tartare comes accompanied by a glass of New Zealand Pinot Noir and the Tuna Carpaccio with a fragrant Chablis. Then come the juicy, prime fillet steak and an irresistible slow-cooked shepherd’s pie –the most delicious I have ever tasted, with buttered kale and spinach, and truffle and parmesan chips as sides. We are encouraged to also try the roast cod fillet and beer battered fish and chips, but that would have been just ridiculous! Four main courses? I had to decline.

The crème brulee pudding was gorgeously creamy yet the dairy free coconut pannacotta a tad bland. Next time I’ll opt for the chocolate bomb which the couple on the table next to us where sharing and demolishing with gusto. Two espresso martinis appear in way of a parting nightcap.

Here, the warm ambience makes it a place to totter in for a casual coffee, swift business lunch, or after work for a cheeky glass, before settling in for a delightful, diet-destroying evening. It’s serious about food here. I hold my hands up – I ended up eating everything. Quite frankly, summer 2016 is now looking more tankini than bikini.

The Ivy Kensington Brasserie
96 Kensington High St, London W8 4SG; 020 3301 0500