The Ivy Café comes to Richmond – just don’t expect to find a free table for dinner…
In my days of working on national magazines, there was only one Ivy and, happily, it was every PR’s choice for countless breakfast press launches. With other branches now open, including Wimbledon and Kensington, when we visited about 10 days after it opened, it’s not an understatement to say you could feel the buzz of excitement from diners the minute you walked through the door.
The décor is luxurious but quirky – prints of beetles, birds and beasts adorn the walls, while the rich red banquettes offer smooth comfort.
Sipping cocktails (a delicious Richmond Park Royale, £10.25, with their own Ivy-exclusive champagne, Briottet Rose liqueur and Sipsmith Sloe gin), our starters of tuna carpaccio (£8.95) and crispy duck salad (£7.95) arrive in good time – although we could see others having a much longer wait. The paper-thin tuna was accompanied by avocado, lime crème fraiche and coriander shoots and just melted in the mouth, with a far superior flavour to smoked salmon. My husband, Alex’s, warm duck was not only a work of art but the five-spice dressing and toasted cashews with ginger was a fabulous mix of taste and texture.
All the staff were wonderfully attentive, and the recommended bottle of Argentinian Tilia Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot (£25) was just right for the meat and fish main courses.
Alex’s line caught swordfish (£15.50) came with red pepper sauce, cherry tomatoes and toasted fregola and, while good, the flavour was rather dominated by olives which weren’t even mentioned on the menu. My slow roasted shoulder of lamb (£16.25) with mustard and herb dressing was delicious, with the mash dry rather than mushy, always better in my book.
For the last 20 years Alex has gone on about The Ivy’s frozen berries dessert, so was ecstatic to see it was on the menu – it’s a classic favourite, we were told (£6.95). It didn’t disappoint. They came with yoghurt sorbet and warm white chocolate sauce – just a small pot, and a little more would have been great, but maybe we were just being greedy.
The Ivy Café is just we need locally – a fabulous venue, great staff and good, affordable food. Welcome to Richmond!
Booking 020 3146 7733 or online: theivycaferichmond.com
9-11 Hill St, Richmond TW9 1SX