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The Ivy, Covent Gardens, London

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A very classic beef tartare, with great beefy flavour and the right amount of gherkins, a very balanced dish. My quibble would be that the beef was too finely ground, a slightly coarser mincing would have been nice to let a bit of the meat's texture come through.

Slices of very gamey mallard breast were perfectly cooked, just the right texture and the right level of tenderness. A blackcurrent reduction did a decent job of tuning down the wild flavour, as did the bits of curly kale and a smooth (demi-glace-based?) sauce. A fat dumpling with smoky foie gras was very good.

Sampled the baked Alaska, good meringue, a reasonable sponge cake base and not bad ice cream filling, dramtically flamed tableside, with lots of cherries.

Pretty good straightforward food, but expensive for the quality and the potions were very small. The restaurant does exude considerable old world charm, the service is excellent and perhaps that's where the money is going to. Not worth it if you're just there for the food.

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  1. Maybe the small portions are for the famous, celebrity clientele. I've always had the feeling they are at the Ivy 'to be seen,' and not for the food.

    1. Never mind the food, what about the celebs? Were there any?

      I used to regularly give/attend parties at the Ivy for work - they have a fabulous room upstairs.

      1 Reply
      1. re: greedygirl

        I didn't notice anyone, but then I'm not very much in tune with the mass media, and several starlets could have come and gone without my noticing.

      2. I agree...while the ivy is certainly one of those places to go just to say that you have been there the food is somewhat lacking and pricey for what you get. Also, while I understand that restaurants try to maximise their profits, do the tables really have to be so close together? I was almost sitting on the lap of the person at the next table. Every time we wanted to get up we had to move the table out just to be able to squeeze past!

        1. If you would like to see a picture of the steak tartare, I have one here: http://douglas-wine.blogspot.com/2008... (taken furtively because of their ban on photos). I personally prefer 'Le Caprice' - excellent, unadulterated foie gras.