Set on a cobblestoned corner of the Covent Garden piazza with a terrace perfect for people watching, The Ivy Market Grill is a more relaxed all-day café and restaurant, often referred to as the “little sister” of The Ivy. With an ever-expanding portfolio of restaurants, adding another string to their bow with their Summer launch of The Ivy Chelsea Garden, I couldn’t fight the temptation to pop in for a visit!
As my date and I arrived, a waitress took our jackets and we were led to our table where we nestled into the curved banquette corner seat and poured over the cocktail menu. We ordered a Gin & Tonic (Sipsmith & Fevertree) and Amaretto Sours, and drank in the atmoshphere.
The large, warmly lit room had a brasserie feel, it felt elegant yet familiar, all dark, woody and leathery, with racing-green banquettes and a handsome steel and pewter bar, a nod towards the original Ivy.
The mosaic floor tiles, antique brass chandeliers, distressed paintwork and marble table tops in the café area created a relaxed atmosphere in grand surroundings, and an orange and pewter bar acted as a theatrical centrepiece standing out between the hues of turquoise and green.
Our cocktails arrived, a frothy and tangy Amaretto Sour with a sweet aftertaste, and a bitter fresh Gin & Tonic garnished with a cucumber twirl. Our waitress guided us through their modern European menu and we chose the zucchini fritters to share, followed by tuna Carpaccio and jumbo tiger prawns.
A few minutes later a generous towering portion of zucchini fritters arrived with a moorish dipping sauce – the fritters were light and crunchy, a welcome change from the often wet and soggy fritters you can sometimes come across.
Next came our appetiser; a plate of thinly sliced tuna Carpaccio which tasted fresh and delicate and was a perfect little teaser, followed by a plate of giant jumbo grilled tiger prawns with that oh-so-delicious deep charcoal grilled taste and covered in chilli and garlic, served with a wedge of lemon.
Leaving enough room for dessert we couldn’t resist a Baked Alaska and their infamous chocolate bomb. The lemon meringue was fresh and sweet but we were blown away by the chocolate bomb, which melted and caved when the warm caramel sauce was poured over it, exposing a heavenly gooey sea of chocolate, caramel and popping candy!
We have since come back again and again – mostly for the chocolate bomb! If you’re looking to impress a date, I recommend booking an alfresco table for a ringside seat over the action in the bustling Covent Garden piazza – the ultimate date night!