Ever since it opened its doors in November 2017 The Ivy has been a very popular fixture on the restaurant scene here in Tunbridge Wells.
Its curvaceous mirrored bar area is the perfect place to sit and sip a cocktail or two, while the beautifully appointed restaurant, which seats just over 100 covers and boasts The Ivy’s trademark art deco design features – think plush leather banquettes, glimmering antique lanterns, foxed mirrors, exotic palms and eclectic artwork – is the perfect place to lunch with friends or enjoy a romantic evening à deux.
Situated on the High Street, right in the heart of Tunbridge Wells, the brasserie forms part of The Ivy Collection, a group of ‘satellite’ eateries all over the country which are based on the original spirit of the famous restaurant on West Street in London’s Covent Garden.
Frequented by the likes of Laurence Olivier, Joan Collins, Dame Maggie Smith and Victoria and David Beckham over the decades, the original Ivy exudes palpable glamour and gastronomy – something its sister site in Tunbridge Wells also achieves I’m very pleased to say.
The menu is also predominantly modelled on its West End namesake and serves up a selection of culinary Ivy classics including its famous Shepherd’s Pie, Eggs Benedict, and decadent Chocolate Bombe dessert. There are also modern British offerings and internationally-inspired dishes to choose from, meaning there is something to suit all tastes and requirements.
But every season the all-day, all-encompassing menu gets a little epicurean tweak, bringing in dishes which feature ingredients that are available at that particular time of the year.
For spring and early summer the new menu features a host of fresh seasonal favourites all grown and produced by artisanal British suppliers. Starters include Garden Pea & Nettle Soup (£6.95) and Grilled Asparagus with Szechuan mayonnaise, capers, flaked almonds, quail’s egg and watercress (£8.50).
When we visited we enjoyed the latter and would heartily recommend it thanks to its beautiful presentation and palate-pleasing textural flavours which were perfectly complemented by a flute of the Ivy Collection fizz (£11.75).
Talking of drinks, some of the restaurant’s cocktail offerings have also been given a seasonal twist too.
Diners can choose from a French Garden 75 (£12.25), which incorporates Hendricks Gin, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, sugar, lime, cucumber or The Ivy Collection Champagne and a Sparkling Peartini (£12.50), which features a sumptuous blend of Grey Goose Le Poire, Italicus Bergamot Liqueur, Lillet Blanc, lemon & The Ivy Collection Champagne.
“The Ivy’s new menu cleverly reimagines firm favourites and a selection of new dishes reflecting all the spring season has to offer”
There is also a choice of limited-edition daily specials. On the evening we visited there was a Pan-Fried Lemon Sole with brown shrimps served with beurre noisette, lemon and capers (£25.95) which was deliciously light yet bursting with flavour. For my hungrier guest the Truffled Burger was a decidedly decadent affair which was further enhanced by a silky fried hen’s egg, rich truffle mayo and moreish shoestring fries (£18.95).
Despite feeling satisfied and sated we still found room to share a portion of new Black Bee Honey and White Chocolate Cheesecake (£9.25), which features UK-based Black Bee Honey and was accompanied by mango sorbet, honeycomb and edible flowers.
James Chard, General Manager at The Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells told SO magazine that the menu cleverly reimagines firm favourites alongside a selection of new dishes reflecting all the spring season has to offer:
“A visit to The Ivy is the perfect reawakening of the senses after a long winter.”
After such an enjoyable experience which was further enhanced by great service from our waiter Louis (pictured below) we would certainly agree with that.