After living in London for six years, you would have thought that we had explored most of the culinary corners in the capital. However, there are areas of East London (well, east of Zone 1) that have continued to elude us over that time. Liverpool Street may be famous for its high rise towers, but it is a tiny little corner at street level that contains one of its best hidden gems: the Ivy City Garden.
If you are a keen follower of the blog or the socials, you will know that both myself and Katie love a lunch at The Ivy. So, when we were invited to come down and sample the lunch menu, as well as the limited edition tropical cocktails, we couldn’t resist. Launched in collaboration with Monkey 47 Gin and The Elephant Family, the menu hangs on to that feeling of summer and is a great accompaniment to a very beautiful restaurant. We took our seats in a little nook at the rear of the restaurant; in amongst the plant life and near the roaring fire. To start, I opted for The Hummingbird cocktail, and elaborate and light gin cocktail served in a beautiful coupe. Katie went for the Jungle Juice Punch; served Tiki-style over a cascade of ice. The Ivy does do theatre very well.
For starters, Katie went for the Seared Atlantic Scallops (a tactical choice as I can’t steal any of her seafood). The smell of her dish was absolutely divine, but I was more than happy with my offering; The Roast Pumpkin Tortellini. The Pumpkin purée and grated black truffle were autumn personified; this is an incredible, heavenly dish that must have been designed specifically for the colder months. Absolutely exquisite and a real gamechanger when it comes to that first course. The creamy sage and cheese sauce really complimented and completed the dish.
Keeping the theme of fish, Katie then went for the Monkfish Keralan Curry, which was served with a coconut cream and jasmine rice. Again, only my eyes and my nose could do the judging on this dish, but it passed with flying colours. I went for a Filet Steak; always a good barometer to test a restaurant. The grass-fed beef was so soft inside, and worked well with the signature truffle and parmesan chips. To top it off, a wild mushroom sauce that really gave a smooth finish to the plate.
Verging on the cusp of fullness, we had just enough space for a couple more cocktails and dessert. On the menu, both of our eyes were fixated on one option and we really couldn’t choose anything else. With expectations stratospherically high, two plates of malted banana ice cream with chocolate brownie, caramelised banana and candied pecans were placed on the table. Within seconds, they were gone. I think the words and the photos do this dish real justice, and it really did taste as good as it looks.
If you are ever in the city an fancy a cosy autumnal spot to have lunch or dinner, then you really should grab a table at The Ivy City Garden. The atmosphere is fun and lively, albeit within the laid-back surroundings of a garden rather than the classic backdrop of glass and steel which populates the rest of the area. Find out more about the venue and the menus here.