The Ivy Cafe – St John’s Wood, London

The Ivy has seen quite an expansion in recent years.  From one restaurant in Covent Garden they now have 8 other Grills and Brasseries dotted around London and the UK.  They are also opening a new one in Soho next month along with many others planned for the future.  This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of their first restaurant so it would seem they are going from strength to strength.  My trip to the Ivy Cafe in Marylebone last year was hugely enjoyable so I was thrilled when they invited me to try out their newest restaurant, The Ivy Cafe in St John’s  Wood.

We arrived on a very damp and cold winter’s night to an extremely warm welcome.  We were asked if we wanted a drink at the bar first or to go straight to the table.  I always like to sit at the bar with a cocktail as it seems like the perfect way to start a meal so we went with that option.

I ordered the Ivy Champagne and Dan had a glass of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  The drinks were delicious, nice and crisp and a really lovely way to start the meal.  Snacking on some huge olives as we drank our aperitifs we looked around the restaurant.  Similar in style to the other Ivy restaurants I’ve been to (with leather banquettes, low lighting and a brasserie type feel) it was still eclectic enough to have a personality of its own.  The artwork was stunning – I loved all of the animal prints on the wall, especially the flamingo prints by the bar.  The Ivy Cafe’s are a more informal version of the flagship The Ivy, with all the excellence of food and service that you would expect in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Once we’d finished our drinks we were shown to our table.  We we offered the wine menu and chose a bottle of Cotes du Rhone, France, 2014, £32, while we looked over the food choices.  The wine was big and full-flavoured with hints of blackberries, blackcurrants and liquorice and was absolutely delicious – exactly my type of wine.The Ivy Cafe - St John's Wood, London by Emma Eats & Explores

The menu itself is huge – so many options and they all sounded really delicious.  I was spoilt for choice, there was plenty that I could eat.  From the Goats Curd Salad with shaved apple, endive, cranberries and toasted hazelnuts to the Raw Yellowfin Tuna Carpaccio with spiced avocado, lime crème fraîche and coriander shoots, everything sounded delicious.

I ended up deciding on the Burrata to start.  I always go for Burrata when it’s on the menu.  The creamy rich texture is just incredible and when it’s paired with a tangy pesto it just can’t be beaten.   This one came with a clementine salad, toasted pine nuts, pesto and purple baby basil.  Simplicity at its best.

Dan ordered the Wasabi Prawns with salt and pepper squid, wasabi mayonnaise and miso sauce.  By time the starters came out we were more than ready to eat.  My Burrata was stunning – I knew it would be a good one here.  Firm on the outside, giving way to a creamy gooey middle it was absolutely delicious and the fresh citrus salad did a great job of making sure it wasn’t to heavy and rich.The Ivy Cafe - St John's Wood, London by Emma Eats & Explores

Dan’s starter was enormous.  Crispy battered and deep-fried, prawns and squid with a spicy wasabi sauce.  They were crispy and crunchy and definitely not soggy which is always super important.  The squid was tender and not chewy at all.  If he was to find fault he said that maybe the prawns were a tiny bit over battered so the actual meat got a bit lost, but we both really enjoyed our starters and couldn’t wait for the mains if it was going to be more of the same.The Ivy Cafe - St John's Wood, London by Emma Eats & Explores

When ordering my main course I was stuck between the sesame crusted tuna salad and the roast salmon.  I asked our waiter which he preferred (always a good tip – they’ve probably tried everything on the menu at least once!)  He said the salmon was definitely the best choice so I went with that and a side of spinach with Parmesan and pine nuts.  I asked for it rare and it came out cooked perfectly.  Slightly translucent still, right in the middle making it extra juicy, just how I like it.  It came with smoked almonds and a delicious lemon and herb sauce and was a really tasty light dish.

On the other hand Dan went for something much heavier off of the ‘Ivy Classics’ menu.  The Steak, Fries & Béarnaise Sauce.   An 8oz grass-fed English Sirloin steak which looked so beautiful when it arrived.  Cutting into it you could tell the quality of the meat straight away, the knife went through so easily.  I had a taste and it was amazing.  Perfectly charred on the outside with a slight crust giving you that extra texture.  Pink, juicy and rare on the inside just the way a steak should be and so full of flavour!  Really delicious!

The Ivy Cafe - St John's Wood, London by Emma Eats & Explores
Steak Frites with Bearnaise Sauce

After dinner we were offered the dessert menu.  Not being massive dessert fans, we almost passed until we saw a Truffle Camembert option on the menu.  We decided we just had to share it along with a glass each of the Late Bottled Vintage Port.  It was the perfect ending to our meal, rich, creamy and tasty and the truffle flavour really came through.  If you have more of a sweet tooth though there is plenty to choose from.  And dessert at The Ivy Cafe can be quite a spectacle as the table next door experienced!  Their Apple Tart came with a Calvados Flambée at the table.  Quite the show-stopper!

A delicious meal and we’ll definitely be back.  They also have a weekend brunch menu and St John’s Wood looks like a lovely place to spend a Saturday afternoon.  I think that’s probably next on our radar!  Have you ever been to one of The Ivy Restaurants?  What did you think?  Let me know in the comments!

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93 Comments Add yours

  1. Abbey Phipps says:

    Fancy! 🙂 I love the cover of the menu! And all of it looks DELICIOUS!

  2. Ooh this all looks delicious!! Those chips look so good, I always judge a place on its chips!

  3. Jen says:

    It is good to see such a good standard of food and drink, and it is what you’d expect. The food looks fabulous and sounds it too. The decor is perfect for the setting.
    My only gripe is why would such a place serve their fries in what appears to be a bucket? Albeit a slightly nicer looking one. That is just my personal side of things.
    Overall, this would certainly be somewhere I would choose to visit from your recommendation.

  4. I’m the opposite of you – I have a really sweet tooth and for me, dessert is the best bit. All their food looks awesome though to be honest, so I’d save this one for a special occasion!

  5. ChelseaMamma says:

    We ate in the Ivy in Covent Garden and I have to admit I would not eat there again as we were ignored by the waiter, the food wasn’t great and we thought it was over-priced. The Ivy Cafe looks good though

  6. Looks beautiful here. The food is making me very hungry 🙂

  7. colleen wool says:

    The food looks so delicious. Especially the apple tart.

  8. Wow I didn’t know there was an Ivy Cafe in St Johns Wood that’s really good to know I’ll have to check it out next time I’m up that way.

  9. Those chips are making my mouth water! I think the whole place sounds great, I like the sound of the menu and would love to give it a try when I’m next in the area 🙂

  10. Susan Shannon says:

    Reading this was like my virtual vacation this evening! Haha Thanks! great review

  11. Anosa says:

    100 years since its first opening wow! Didn’t know about the Ivy before but would love to check them out next time I am in London

  12. Wow! Looks amazing! The food looks very well presented that’s for sure!

  13. countryheartdeb says:

    Oh this looks delicious, i love a good meal out!

  14. Madison says:

    This looks delicious! I’ll have to go there sometime.

  15. Marcie says:

    The wasabi prawns sound super yummy! I love all things wasabi! What a fun dining experience!

  16. dannie54 says:

    This meal sounds so amazing!

    xoxo,
    Dannie

  17. Clare aka Emmy's Mummy says:

    That looks amazing. I’ve never been to the Ivy. Not sure I could afford to lol

  18. Alina says:

    That looks and sounds so good, I’m very jealous right now!

  19. This looks like such a cozy little spot! And great job with the food photography. My mouth is watering!

  20. ljdove23 says:

    This all looks super delicious! I wish it was local to me!

  21. lisagraham1 says:

    Wow the food you had looks delicious. I like the look of the Ivy Cafe too. Next time we get away to London this will be on my list to visit.

  22. Mummy Matters says:

    I am so hungry right now and your post is making my tummy growl even louder!! My sister’in-law ate there in January for her 40th and said it was amazing. It’s one to add to our list for sure!

  23. KIm says:

    London is on my bucket list! Everything looks so good!

  24. Chloe Ciliberto says:

    Both the food and drink look absolutely gorgeous! I’m definitely putting this on my places to try when I’m next in the area. x

  25. lba14525 says:

    Emma, I would say your post was a success because now I am starving and nothing in my house compares to what you were served. All looks fabulous. Such a nice place.

  26. Ana De-Jesus says:

    Wow! I have never been to the Ivy before but I like that the food is reasonably portioned and the food looks good too xx

  27. Kristin Cook says:

    That steak sounds perfect and looks delish! I want one! 😉

  28. momknowsbest15 says:

    I do love salmon for dinner. I like mine well done and it drives my husband crazy.

  29. Sarah Bailey says:

    The place looks fantastic and I do love all the foods that you’ve shown us especially the roast salmon with a tender rare cook.

  30. WOW this looks so elegant, and fancy… The streak looked delish, and I loved the way they served the fries! But it looks out of my budget one day maybe!

  31. I’m jealous! You have such wonderful restaurants you can go to! I live in a small town in the northwestern part of the U.S. There isn’t much variety with the restaurants and many who have a better menu are overpriced and don’t have menu selections as spectacular as the ones you’ve shared. I love the pictures and descriptions you provide for each items. I can almost taste the food. 🙂

  32. Lovely post. I like when a menu is huge. Always good to have a wide variety.

  33. Cristina says:

    I had some trouble finding the comment section. Not used to the layout.
    I plan on visiting London soon, so I’m looking for some nice places to visit and enjoy some really yummy food. Thanks for the recommendation!

  34. Oh this looks and sounds amazing! Every single dish looks delicious and so nicely presented. I have heard such great things about the Ivy, although I had no idea they had a cafe in St Johns Wood too x

  35. Ashley Rose says:

    Oh my that all looks so good! Hopefully I can visit there some day!

  36. Hi There! says:

    I actually had to look up Burrata since it’s not something you see on menus in the US.. Though I love cheese and it sounds amazing! As does the Ivy. Great review!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Its just a cheesier, gooier, creamier mozzarella! Absolutely delicious!!

  37. Oh yum, sounds lovely there! I love the look of that steak!!

  38. MaryAnne says:

    I enjoy reading your post so much! Thanks for sharing!

  39. What a fun looking (and elegant) place. Even the menu is gorgeous. I’ll have to check this cafe out sometime.

  40. I have never heard of the Ivy Cafe before this. It looks like a great place to go eat though. Not only the menu, but the atmosphere looks amazing as well and the food looks wonderful!

  41. Elizabeth O. says:

    It sure sounds like a great place to dine at. I love the decor and it looks like they have a lot of good food to offer!

  42. Jodie says:

    I love the look of this! Steak and chips is always so delicious. The wine too – perfect meal for something like valentine’s day x

  43. What a great Cafe to visit! All of the food looks amazing, what a great place to grab a bite to eat at!

  44. Everything looks and sounds so delicious, especially that bottle of Cotes du Rhone!

    xo, Helene

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      It was really good! Thanks Helene!

  45. Looks like a lovely place to visit. And the food looks amazing, especially the steak 🙂 x

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      It was a really good one! We were really impressed! Thanks Jayne

  46. Lindsey says:

    Nothing makes me more happier than eating at the Ivy. I’ve not been to this one, but the others I have been to, the staff have been amazing

  47. Wow, The Ivy Cafe sound Ah-Mazing! The way you described dinner, I could almost taste it! I had to look up the Burrata as it’s the one thing that I wasn’t 100% sure what it was. Once I found out – Good grief girl, no wonder you ordered it! Yum-O!

    The whole entire meal looked splendid, every single thing from the menu itself (it was so pretty!) to the grass-fed steak all the way to the truffle camembert!

    Thanks so much for taking us along to dinner with you guys!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      I know right, what’s not to love, mozzarella with extra cream! To die for!
      Thanks Erin!

  48. Amber says:

    I need to eat here! I’m going to ask to borrow a private plane so I can be there tomorrow.

    I mean, I wish. I don’t have any rich friends. Yet.

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Me neither! yet… if you find some, give them my number!

  49. bethany1980 says:

    This looks amazing. I love a good cafe

  50. Anosa says:

    Oh. I’d love to try their Steaks Frites! Looks so deliciously and perfectly done! Then the apple tart for dessert will complete my day!

  51. sparkofsouthernmoms says:

    What a great place for you and a loved one to go and enjoy the night together! The meal looks awesome!

  52. This restaurant looks fabulous. The food looks delicious

  53. wow everything looks so good.when i saw the Crispy battered and deep-fried, prawns and squid with a spicy wasabi sauce my mouth started to water. lol

  54. eazynazy says:

    Beautiful resturant and perfect for a date night.. food looks delicious . thanx for sharing 🙂

  55. Mrs. D says:

    Awww, I love the whole ambiance…looks very fancy! I’m drooling over the steak. Thanks for sharing!

  56. wow their presentation is absolutely beautiful. They really pay attention to detail. The menu alone is gorgeous lol.

  57. helenvella says:

    I remember taking my daughter there for her birthday we loved it. Great review and love the pics.

  58. This place looks heavenly! I love trying new restaurants, and really getting involved in my local area, and places I travel. I hope you enjoyed!

  59. I don’t remember the last time I went to a nice restaurant just me and the hubby! Ugh! That steak and fries looks soo good!!!

  60. The wine and champagne looked as lovely as they must have tasted. The Cafe is indeed really gorgeous. But, what took my attention and soul were the desserts! I loved every single one of them.

  61. Wow!! Wine bottle of Cotes du Rhone, France?!? I love drinking the red wines. It helps lower blood pressure, heart disease, and weight loss… However, I do not know if the health benefits in red wines are true or not..

  62. Oh wow! This looks amazing (and how posh to say you dined at the Ivy… I had no idea they had a string of other restaurants too). The starters in particular look amazing – I want those prawns! What a lovely treat.

  63. I love a good cafe to dine! All the food looks so good especially their appetizer “Crispy battered and deep-fried, prawns and squid with a spicy wasabi sauce”. I could eat that all day!

  64. Thanks for sharing! I love discovering new places in London, haven’t been to a proper restaurant in ages so your review comes in handy 🙂

  65. Oh wow what a fantastic place to dine – the food looks amazing and this would be perfect for a date lunch or a special treat

    Laura x

  66. Danielle says:

    That’s one fabulous looking menu! And the food looks top notch! This definitely seems like a great place to dine with the hubby.

  67. Chloe says:

    All of this food sounds so good, my tummy is rumbling! I hope one day I can visit this cafe, it looks like a beaut spot for a date night.

  68. danay says:

    John’s choices look and sound yummy. I’ll have to drop in when in town.

  69. Tauyanm says:

    that wine looks amazing! and look at that steak! it looks huge! i won’t be able to finish even half of that! nice to know new places like this

  70. Fabulous dinner, and perfect for a romantic date night 🙂

  71. Looks like such a lovely place full of yummy food!

  72. Em says:

    WOW – my favourite meal (steak) looks incredible and I adore the peacock menu! Looks like a very special place to eat!

    Em

  73. Oh wow, all the food looks delicious- love the presentation! I’ve never set foot in an Ivy venue before but would definitely love too.

  74. Oh this looks my perfect place for a night out with my girls! We are planning a trip soon so thanks so much!

  75. Looks like an awesome selection of food, you’ve made me hungry reading this x

  76. nicol says:

    I’m really amazed by the design of the menu! everything from the interior to the food looks amazing

  77. Sarah Louise says:

    This looks like a fantastic place. Very fancy! Being veggie im not too fond of the choice of food you made haha

  78. I would really love to go there the restaurant and the food look amazing. That steak and chips look great, yum!

  79. Kara says:

    Mmmm I’ve been to the original venue and the one in Covent Garden both were delicious ! Looking

  80. Steph says:

    Everything looks so well presented and I adore the menu cover

  81. Looks like a great place, the food looks absolutely delicious!

  82. The food looks amazing! I’ll share this with all my English friend!

  83. Just reading your post made me feel hungry. Knowing that a restaurant can cook salmon so that it is rare and juicy is a good enough reason to visit.

  84. I go to St John’s Wood quite frequently so need to check this out! I menu alone looks stunning so the food is bound to be too! Xx

  85. Rebecca Smith says:

    Ooo this looks like a lovely place to have a bite to eat at – the food looks delicious

  86. Annie Bean says:

    Oh my! This looks tasty. I love a good brunch menu so I may need to stop in to have a look at that.

  87. Oh very swish! I would love to eat here one day.

  88. I like the sound and look of the food. Looks very tasty.

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