The Ivy Bath Brasserie
in a league of its own
Not since the Assembly Rooms (which took at least three years to build, and around three minutes to become “the hub of fashionable high society in Bath”) first opened its doors in 1771 has the opening of a brand new merrymaking venue for Bath been so hotly anticipated as this one.
The Ivy Bath Brasserie is the latest addition to The Ivy Collection: a group of neighbourhood restaurants, brasseries and cafés with origins connected to the iconic Ivy Restaurant established in London’s Covent Garden 100 years ago, now spreading roots across the UK. The most recent IC offshoot has magpied into former bank premises on Milsom Street, which the group has refurbished to impeccably high, scintillating standards.
From the moment you set foot in the door, you’re on contemporary glamour a go-go territory as your attention is subtly grabbed at every turn, from the sparkling bar and shimmering chandeliers to the modern art work on the walls, the colourful tiles underfoot, and the smartly-dressed staff dancing easygoing yet uber-professional attendance at every turn. The devil may be in the detail of any refurbishment, but the angels have definitely worked their magic here: quite simply, it’s an utterly stunning environment in which to eat, drink and be merry. Oh, and let’s not forget “see and be seen,” too; while few of us may have patronised The Ivy’s original London branch in its heyday, most of us are aware that its prestigious reputation was largely built on the fact that a long roll call of legendary stage, screen and artsworld icons that added glamour to the allure of the restaurant’s reputation… and the new Bath branch is most definitely designed to attract and appeal to those who want to experience a similar red carpet restaurant vibe. Having said that, menus (and prices, should you choose wisely) are distinctly down-to-earth and accessible, offering modern British classics from dawn until dusk including breakfast, elevenses, weekend brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, light snacks, dinner and cocktails.
We had dinner in the elegant second half of the first floor dining room, which somehow made me feel as though I was on the set of a film about a 1930’s cruise ship, complete with decadent Art Deco flourishes and seductive banquet seating – heck, if Noël Coward had suddenly muscled in on our table for two, I wouldn’t have been in the least bit surprised (well I would, given that he died in 1973, but you know what I mean.)
Having ordered canapés of irresistible truffle arancini to accompany our aperitifs, our starters arrived very quickly – a little bit too quickly, really. But having said that, you really don’t want to wait too long to sample the Steak Tartare, because it really is a dish of beauty to both behold and dive in to: moist, juicy and deeply umami in essence, perfectly seasoned and satisfyingly carnivorous. The Atlantic sea scallops too were faultless in execution: glistening, plump mollusc morsels resplendent on an al dente bed of truf e risoni, liberally muddled with black truffle – gorgeous.
Despite the fact that all manner of tantalising, contemporary brasserie-style dishes vie for attention on the menu, we remained faithful to the Ivy classic theme for our main courses too, opting for the signature Shepherd’s Pie for me, and a dry-aged rib eye steak for him. The SP is a handsome incarnation of an erstwhile everyday fave, made with slow-braised lamb shoulder, topped with buttery Cheddar cheese mash and served with a jug of powerful red wine jus – it looks pretty, but it packs a powerful, satisfyingly flavour-packed punch. The steak was very good too – I even left some of the truffle and parmesan chips (which must be ordered as a separate side dish, unless you like your steak served with nothing more than a handful of garnish) for him to eat with it.
And then, in a rather shocking development, we eschewed dessert in favour of Salted Caramel Espresso Martinis – a devilishly moreish concoction made with Wyborowa vodka, Expre Tosolini coffee liqueur, fresh coffee and salted caramel syrup, resulting in pudding, digestif and coffee all rolled into one, and providing a fabulous full stop to a splendid evening of non-stop delights.
Is there a downside to a creep into the Ivy? Only that, right now, reservations at peak times are at a premium (as I said, this has been one hotly anticipated opening.) But honestly, the experience is worth the wait. And anyway, there’ll be more space in which to branch out fairly soon, as there’s a first floor dining room and upper-level alfresco terrace in the pipeline. Meanwhile, naysayers (probably those who have yet to bag a table for dinner) are grumbling about it being a new-look [insert name of popular French-themed chain here], or a revamped [insert name of formerly fashionable modern British ‘hospitality venture’ now long since past its use-by date here]. They’re wrong, though; we believe that The Ivy Bath Brasserie is in a league of its own.
- Wheelchair access ,
- Free wifi available ,
- Gluten free options ,
- Baby changing facilities
- Address: 39 Milsom St, Bath BA1 1DS, UK
- Phone: 01225 307100
- Email: N/A
- Website: theivybathbrasserie.com
Monday – Friday: 8am – 11pm
Saturday: 8am – 11.30pm
Sunday/Bank Holidays: 9am – 10.30pm
Opposite Jolly’s department store Waterstone’s book shop on Milsom Street, adjacent to the entrance for the Milsom Place quarter
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