Eating Out: The Ivy

Friday 10 June 2016 by

The Ivy, Eating out, Restaurant, Covent Garden, London, Gluten free

It feels very indulgent to say “we had dinner at The Ivy”. But ahead of seeing Funny Girl at the Savoy, that’s exactly what we did. The Ivy restaurant is known for its smart presentation, delicious food, and slightly-more-expensive-than-average prices. I went in expecting the worst for my bank account, but was actually pleasantly surprised that the prices weren’t too outlandish.

But I guess the most impressive thing about the whole experience was the service. The Ivy prides itself on being a fantastic place to eat, and much of that came down to the service for me. Upon arrival, we were swiftly served gin and tonics – with our choice of gin – and shown to our table. It was quite busy, and the restaurant itself was quite small, but you never felt you were crowding the table next to you or that it was too loud to hear what people were saying.

I always get a bit nervous eating out anywhere for the first time, because it can be a bit of a drama requesting gluten free. And when I asked for the allergen menu, my heart sank a little when they said they didn’t have one and just to tell the server. I shouldn’t have worried. I opted for the roast pork – it comes with buttered cabbage, summer savoury and mustard sauce, so there isn’t a huge amount to go wrong unless they use wheat flour in their gravy – with a side of tenderstem broccoli. As instructed, I told our server that I was gluten intolerant and he just noted it down and said it would all be fine.

Imagine my delight, then, when I was swiftly served warm gluten free rolls! The others were all tucking in to their bread and butter (any fellow intolerant can tell you, this part is always torture when you’re hungry) when a warm roll and fresh dish of butter appeared, just for me. I was thrilled. I hadn’t asked, it simply arrived. That was the first set of points to The Ivy.

Next up was the roast pork. They’re not shy on their portion sizes, and this was roasted to perfection, with a thin layer of crackling and creamy mash. You might raise your eyebrows that I was having something so simple as roast pork when I could have gone for one of the more exotic dishes on the menu, but this is comfort food at its best. The broccoli was crunchy and fresh, and all in all, this was heaven on the tongue. Remember that bit in Ratatouille when the critic eats the dish and is transported straight back to childhood? This pork wasn’t far off – it reminded me of roast dinners on Sundays and dark Autumn evenings after school.

Conscious we had limited time before the show, nonetheless my sweet tooth was crying out. I asked about the crème brûlée (again, playing it safe) only to be told it wasn’t gluten free (!) because it came with biscotti. My dismay was evident because, as the others had their coffees, my server told me quietly that he had arranged something for me – on the house. Gold star to The Ivy. Three more gold stars when a gluten free crème brûlée appeared on the table – with just enough time to spare to eat it before heading to the show.

Other restaurants need to take note – that’s how to please your diners with intolerances! The only other place I’ve been to that made it so easy to eat gluten free was Niche, and that’s a gluten free restaurant. The Ivy were worth every penny when it came to service and understanding. Yes, you are paying more than the usual amount, but if you’re going to treat yourself, do it in style. And The Ivy is very stylish.

Book your table at The Ivy here – pre-booking is essential. Pre-theatre menus are only available Monday-Thursday and Sundays.

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