By Jessamy Baldwin
I dined at The Ivy Clifton Brasserie for the first time this week and I have to say, the food was pretty damn good. Not only was the food itself delicious, it was served with such care (silver ramekins, linen napkins, Italian glassware, smartly dressed/friending waiting staff), that you really felt like you were there for an experience, not simply a meal.
The unique Ivy brand is one with which most of us are familiar due to the infamous London establishment, and its more relaxed Bristolian sister eatery certainly does the culinary dynasty justice.
We parked in the heart of Clifton Village and headed over to the restaurant which can be found on the corner of Caledonia Place and The Mall, overlooking The Mall Gardens.
We wanted to try out the £21 set menu which changes every 2 weeks. I’m often sceptical about set menus. Although they are usually quite good value for money, the choices are often limited and when you see your dining partner tucking into their a la carte feast, it can be somewhat of an anti-climax pour vous.
When I saw the options for The Ivy Clifton Brasserie’s set menu I wasn’t blown away (3 starters, 4 mains, 3 puddings) but the key to their success, it seems, is executing those couple of dishes to the nth degree and then mixing that up every few weeks.
As you walk through the rather grand entrance, you’re greeted by the beautiful (and enormous) pink and white blossom feature.
There’s an abundance of chic and quirky paintings and photos as far as the eye can see. Dark wood panelled doors, light tan leather couches, plush blue velvet seats, candles on each table, vintage lamps, quirky tiled floors and the hum of jazz – right up my street. It’s cosy but light and airy, old fashioned but chic due to the colour scheme.
The orangery continues in the same theme but has tropical greenery hanging from ceiling features, white marble tables and a view of the small, pretty walled courtyard behind.
As soon as we sat down, we were quickly greeted with menus and glasses of champagne. Now, that’s good service.
To kick things off, I opted for the seasonal soup with creamed cauliflower, crumbled Stilton, capers and parsley. The creamy, piping hot liquid arrived in a small sliver jug with the rest of the goodies already in a bowl. It was rich, but not too overwhelming due to the potion size and actually went down a real treat. The cheese and capers were unusual for a soup, but were a great combo.
The hubby went for smoked mackerel rillettes with lemon pepper and granary toast. It was yummy but not for the fish faint hearted.
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For the main event I had the seasonal risotto with butternut squash, sage and goats cheese, with a herb leaf salad. This was the star of the show. OMG. It was seriously good. The risotto was creamy and rich with a whole slab of slightly molten goats cheese on top. The squash was crispy and sweet and the salad brought it all together.
Dave went for the steak with garlic butter and thick cut chips. The meat was full of flavour and the chips still had the skins on – our fave. We did feel the meat could have been rarer however.
Puddings were classic and excellent.
We shared a crème brûlée and silver bowl of vanilla ice cream with warm salted caramel sauce. The crème brûlée’s sugar crust wasn’t overdone or too thick. It was thin, slightly crunchy and the mixture beneath sweet and smooth.
Now, I think I may have a slight addiction to salted caramel. So when the ice cream arrived with a jug – yes, a jug – of the stuff, I was one happy lady.
For £21, we were very impressed. The portions were just right, the food high quality and the chic ambience was spot on. You can catch the set menu from 11.30am-7pm.
We left feeling full, a little giddy and wanting another portion of dessert – #nomnomnom.
The Ivy Clifton Brasserie is open seven days a week and serves breakfast, brunch (Saturday + Sunday), lunch, afternoon tea, light snacks and dinner as well as cocktails. Last month, they also launched the ‘build your own’ waffle menu (Saturday and Sunday 11.30am-4pm).
Head to the website to find out more www.theivycliftonbrasserie.com
Instagram & Twitter: @ivycliftonbrass, Facebook: theivycliftonbrasserie
This article was published on Best of Bristol on 11th April 2017.