A couple of days ago, Sandra and I went to The Ivy... as you do on a typical Monday evening in London. We had been wanting to go to The Ivy for a while and when opportunity came that both of us were sent to the same training course, well... you're about to find out...
When we arrived, we were greeted by a very welcoming doorman and the waiters inside were all very friendly too. One in particular commented that he really likes my glasses. I said thanks. When we were seated at our table, we couldn't help to scan around and see if there's anyone famous... None were found. Everybody was very well dressed; they're all like bankers, executives, work for law firms, etc.
The décor is not as posh as I imagined. It's classic (a nice way of saying 'old'?!) but cosy. And the thing about The Ivy is, they have a no camera/photograph policy, hence the lack of pictures in this post.
The complimentary bread bowl and butter were very enjoyable. Bread was warm and butter is soft, just right for spreading. There was no plates though and I had crumbs everywhere. Classy.
Now, the food. To start Sandra had the steamed mussels with cider, smoked bacon and wild garlic. Doesn't that sound delicious? And it was. I had the buffalo mozzarella, avocado pesto and San Marzano tomatoes which was so good, I had to 'recreate' it for lunch today.
Sandra's main was Thai baked sea bass. The sea bass fillet was wrapped in banana leaf and then baked. The fish was nicely spiced and very moist. I had the Ivy hamburger. I know, it's probably strange that I ordered hamburger, but I do like hamburgers and especially great hamburger like this. The thick, flavourful patty was cooked to medium, just the way I like it. I don't know (and not that I really care) about the etiquette when eating finger food when served in an up-scale joint. But, I think food like hamburger, fries, ribs aren't supposed to be eaten with knife and fork, so I was hands on. What do you think?
We also ordered a couple of side dishes to share, minted Jersey Royals and parmesan crusted courgettes. Both were excellent. If I had to choose between fries or fried courgettes/zucchini, I'd definitely go for courgettes. Sandra and I love red wine and the beautiful Argentinian cabernet sauvignon 'La Flor', Mendoza 2010 is rather smooth, juicy, fruitful (plums, I believe) and was a great accompaniment to our meals.
I was full and this point, but I couldn't resist the sound of pistachio and almond tart with Turkish delight ice cream... I'm a big fan of Turkish delight, so this dessert was totally right up my street. I think I have an idea how to make this at home, I just need to find a recipe for the Turkish delight ice cream. Anyone wanna share?
Anyway, for lunch today, I made my version of the starter I had at the Ivy, buffalo mozzarella, basil and lemon pesto and roasted plum tomatoes. I couldn't find good, ripe avocado today, so just the normal pesto with fresh basil leaves, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, coarse salt and black pepper. I made the pesto using pestle and mortar because I want to control the texture of the pesto. No fancy San Marzano tomatoes for me... just good old British plum tomatoes. I roasted them with a bit of olive oil, dried thyme and salt and pepper.
To serve, I smeared the pesto abstractly onto the plate and then tear (never slice, I've been told) the buffalo mozzarella into nice chunks and grind some black pepper on the top. Arrange the tomatoes, scatter more fresh basil leaves and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil. Serve with lightly toasted, thinly sliced ciabatta. Yum.
I just love the silky smoothness of the mozzarella, melting with the fragrant basil and lemon pesto, and together with the roasted plum tomatoes are all bursting with flavours of summer. And the best thing is, this one didn't cost me an arm and a leg.