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It's been the talk of the city for the last month now - The Ivy Brasserie has excitingly come to Cambridge.
The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie is now open, located on the bustling Trinity Street in central Cambridge, the restaurant makes for an ideal spot to enjoy an accessible all-encompassing menu, serving British classics from dawn until dusk, including breakfast, elevenses, weekend brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, light snacks, dinner and cocktails.
You might be familiar with other known "Ivies" in the country, for example the famous Ivy in London West Street where celebrities have been known to frequent over many, many years. There's also The Ivy Market Grill in Covent Garden, and The Ivy Cafe in Marylebone.
All strands of The Ivy are are known for being gorgeously stylish, perfectly hosted, and delicious to boot. Think piano lounges, cocktails, and three course memorable morsels.
Upon hearing this news of course, I was highly excited in general to experience some Ivy hospitality locally, so you can imagine how beside myself I was to receive a personal invitation to supper on the eve of Good Friday to enjoy a cocktail, three course meal, hot drinks if required (I love a good cuppa), and a sampling of the manager's choice of wine.
The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie offers sophisticated all-day dining for local businesses, shoppers and visitors to the area. The modern British menu is all-encompassing including breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, weekend brunch, light snacks, cocktails and dinner.
No less than expected, The Ivy Brasserie has such an incredibly chic style to its interior, with inviting foyer area to store coats and outerwear, before being taken to your table (more on the marvelous staff later on).
Intricately designed tiling sweeps the entire length of the dining area, and brightly themed artwork and upholstery compliments the seating and glamorous bar area.
I love the prints on the walls, right down to the gorgeously plump cushions. The place is a work of art, whilst at the same time feeling intimate and relaxing too.
Naturally there's both a wine and cocktail menu to enjoy at The Ivy Brasserie. On arrival we were greeted with the opportunity of picking a cocktail from the menu or enjoying a glass of champagne each. Of course Lloyd and I opted for one of our favourite treats in the form of a cocktail, and these were our choices.
Lloyd's "tipple" came served in a smoke trapped bell jar which was a fabulous sight to watch as Will the waiter lifted the lid to excite our senses a whole lot. Lloyd and I love bespoke cocktails, so this was a welcome surprise indeed! I'm told by Lloyd that the cocktail itself was utterly delicious, and I take this as the absolute truth considering how long it lasted before it was finished.
I opted for a juice! There's a lovely selection of freshly prepared coolers and juices to choose from and enjoy any time of the day. Mine was simple in ingredients, but worked perfectly. The ginger was really quite strong, but not uncomfortably so. Very refreshing, and on my re-drink list for sure.
During supper we were recommended a bottle of red for the table based on our food choices, and for someone who isn't a very regular drinker at all (I probably only amount to half a glass of alcohol a year), the choice was lovely!
As a brief guide to how this complimented our meals before we delve into them in greater detail, both Lloyd and I opted for very meat heavy dishes, so this particular wine choice really did work extremely well throughout.
The waiting staff were exceptionally attentive to the fill level of our glasses as they passed by too, which resulted in either of us never having below half a glass at any one time. Loved it.
For Lloyd and I, we had full rein over the a la carte menu, from which we chose the following delights:
Both Lloyd and I agreed that the meat and fish were both incredibly fresh, and melted in the mouth on contact. Both dishes were perfectly seasoned, and the fusion of flavours worked superbly across everything.
The egg atop the steak tartare was prepared to absolute perfection, and the addition of the watermelon with my carpaccio with the miso mayo was genius! I feel like each of these dishes will be stuck in our minds when we visit again. It'll be hard to not want to order them both again!
Once again, outstanding ingredient quality across the board. I am incredibly smug with my choice of the duck curry, as it was by far the most outstanding curry I have ever eaten in a restaurant.
The duck had bite but was so delicate to chew, and the creaminess of the curry itself was mind blowing. My jasmine rice was a treat served in its leaf too, being fluffy and perfectly cooked.
Lloyd opted for the Ivy burger which also didn't disappoint. The beef was moist and succulent, with the home style chips seeing not a hint of oil, just crisp and light potato.
A favourite was the horseradish ketchup which made us both "ooo" a great deal haha! I've never tried anything like it! I'm a huge fan of horseradish anyway, but to have it as a ketchup was a new one on both of us! What a brilliant idea! We're now desperately seeking a recipe.
How could we possibly say no to dessert when the starters and mains were are showstopping as they were?
The dessert menu is generously catered with two of our actual favourites being on offer in some form.
Lloyd's "burnt cream" was essentially a divine creme brulee, very generously sized, and had the perfect "crack to cream" ratio. Lovely and smooth custard with just the right amount of crisp, with lightness which didn't leave him feeling over indulged.
My panna cotta was similarly perfectly formed, and was almost too pretty to eat! The rhubarb and raspberry compote was another genius accompaniment to the dessert, as it added a very complimentary twang to the smooth vanilla cream. The almond top was delicious to "crack and scoop with" too. Dreamy.
What an evening. Honestly I feel so incredibly lucky to have had my first visit to The Ivy Brasserie in Cambridge be such a marvelous experience. From the warm, welcoming, and professional service and staff, to the ultimately delicious food and drinks across the board.
If you encounter our waiter, Will, be sure to pass on our "hello". He was such a friendly and welcoming gentleman at our table, and I couldn't thank him enough for the effortless attention to detail he put into each moment of our first dining experience at The Ivy Brasserie, Cambridge.
Both Lloyd and I are thrilled to be reporting back on this hugely successful addition to our city.
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