The Ivy Grill, London
A couple of weeks into my new role in Seven Dials, I flirted with the idea of getting off at Leicester Square instead of Covent Garden. You must realise that for a woman of my age throwing that into my daily routine really is quite the source of excitement. Having trained myself to learn every shortcut from Covent Garden station to the office since I started, a new station was like a whole new world to me.
Once I got off and realised where I was I found a charming little street that led me straight to the office. Charming mostly because I passed The Ivy and Dishes. Passing The Ivy was pleasant because I had heard of it and passing Dishroom was pleasant because it always smelled incredible. When a friend recently suggested meeting up at The Ivy after work I was keen not to pass up on the opportunity to see the inside, especially as it is so well hidden from the view of the proletariat like myself.
Although I am. life long fan of surprises, I find it terribly difficult to not look at the menu before I go somewhere. Between being pescatarian and not being able to eat certain foods for health reasons I always like to be prepared so that I do not faff and hold up the other diners. The vegetarian options on the menu at The Ivy were less than overwhelming.
Oh ANOTHER mushroom risotto. How lovely.
I’m surprised I did not see the appearance of the one food item that really is the last refuge of the unimaginative chef – the bean burger. So we changed it to The Ivy Grill which is a bit further in to central Covent Garden, just behind the market.
Outwardly and inwardly The Ivy is a cosy experience. We were shown to a little booth which was just about spacious enough for the four of us and meant I didn’t have to curb my regular foul language in fear of offending fellow diners. Our conversations about awful Tinder dates and our favourite drag queens were perfectly safe.
I opted for the fish and chips because despite the vegetarian menu being more limited but also more appealing here there is something inside of me from various trips to Southend On Sea as a child that just cannot pass up the chance to have a really good fish and chips. Spending half of your life dieting means you spend the other half being seriously invested in finding foods that have your entire daily recommendation of calories in them. The battered cod did not disappoint. The batter was crispy and light and I couldn’t help but think how much less satisfied I would have been with a mushroom risotto. The fish was just about fish enough for me to imagine some poor staff member freezing their tits off at Billinsgate fish market that morning. The chips were the dictionary definition of “man chips”. If you do not know what man chips are I’m talking the thick, long crispy numbers that could fend off a burglar with one swing. It was a perfect hearty meal for a drizzly London evening. My friends had the duck curry and the shepherds pie and I certainly heard no complaints their end.
While the food is pleasant and palatable it isn’t very experimental so if this is what you are looking for from your culinary experience in London then it is maybe not you. If however, you are sick of having your mashed potato spiked persimmon and pomegranate and you just want a simple, elegant meal, this is the place for you.If you don’t go for the food, go for the atmosphere. It’s a welcome little bubble of privacy in a place in central London where personal space is a about as common as a free lunch.
The Ivy Grill is on Henrietta street just behind Covent Garden market. Menu items on the A La Carte menu start from around £15.