Going out for dinner on a Monday seems kind of weird, but when events conspire to force your hand, sometimes it works out for the best. After all, who says Friday or Saturday has to be ‘date night’?
Storm Eunice breezed into Wales and despite it wreaking havoc across the Vale Of Glamorgan (fallen trees, collapsed scaffolding and a wealth of “We shall rebuild” memes on social media), it also ensured that most of the eateries were closed in our capital on Friday leaving our original plan to visit The Ivy in tatters.
Okay, we’ll come clean, we merely rearranged for Monday, drama over. Having said that, travelling in did feel strange. It’s Monday! Who has ever had a good meal on a Monday? Perhaps this was that Monday.
Arriving promptly at 7pm, we were shown to our table downstairs. Now we have dined upstairs previously – I would say upstairs seems, feels, a little more formal. Downstairs has a more relaxed vibe and, being full to capacity, and with the music playing at an appropriate level, the scene was set.
Just a quick word on the décor. It’s fabulous, over-the-top, flowery, extravagant, and really quite beautiful. Clearly, they know what they’re doing.
The other reason we wanted to visit was to sample their new range of Six Nations cocktails. We managed four out of the six so a real effort was made. If there was a ‘cocktail of the match’ award for me it was the Emerald isle, and for Jennifer, the English Rose. I’m not sure if they will be available after the Six nations has finished but you can certainly read more about them here, and get in there quickly to sample yourselves.
As this was ‘date night’, we decided that at least two courses would be required (dessert would be considered later). To start I opted for the The Ivy Prawn Cocktail. Cocktails appeared to be the focus of the evening and, to reinforce the seafood theme, Jennifer opted for the scallops. Both were exceptional – particularly the scallops, and both perfectly cooked. My 70s throwback was a delight – plump prawns and a fresh salad drizzled in Marie Rose sauce.
As we sipped our cocktails we got chatting to a lovely couple on an adjacent table. Without going into great detail, we hit it off and had much in common. They had driven down for an overnight from Malvern in Worcestershire. We talked, music, cars (they had a Morgan), motorcycles, business, walking, dogs and publishing. I think the word synchronicity was used. It certainly felt as if the universe had conspired for us to meet. They had finished their meal so we swapped email addresses and said our goodbyes.
As we reflected on the very enjoyable conversation, our mains arrived. We’d both chosen the Rib-Eye on the bone (rare). No, we are certainly not on a “plant-based journey”. Jennifer’s was napped in butter and mine was accompanied by some chunky chips and a peppercorn sauce. Super tasty, and juicy, we wolfed them down with as much elegance as we could muster – hard, given how flavoursome they were.
Jennifer declined dessert but I couldn’t resist a crème brulee which was pretty perfect – beautifully creamy after I’d broken through its sugary shell. Add a brace of good coffees and the evening was complete.
It was all very good but the highlights had to be Jennifer’s scallops, my steak and the service. Nothing was too much trouble and delivered with a confident and friendly professionalism.
The Ivy may be an indulgence and special occasion destination for many, and it delivers at every level. Having said that, I imagine it’ll have its regulars. We’d certainly like to join them based on this performance. The truth is, The Ivy is in a different league.
69/70 St David’s
029 2233 8940
Jennifer’s quick take on The Ivy…
Click here to visit her Life-Styled site.