Where did you go?
Designer Hanneke and I had a jolly good three hour lunch at The Ivy in the heart of Norwich. Despite tropical temperatures, it was pleasantly cool inside, and there’s plenty of space, with tables well laid out.
What’s the vibe?
It’s certainly a glam place, in a beautiful old building which was once a bank. Interiors are very glizy, with an onyx bar, marble flooring, leather banquettes and bronze artefacts, all set within the brasserie’s signature green palette. The artwork is bold, to say the least.
Who’s in the team?
General manager Wayne Palmer runs a tight ship, while head chef Audrius Buinickas is in charge of the kitchens. Service is a key part of what The Ivy offers and it is attentive and reassuring in these unsteady times.
What do we need to know about the menu?
We were there to try out a set menu lunch, designed especially for the Eat Out To Help Out scheme. There are two courses for £30 and three courses for £35, and there are three starters, mains and puds and, it being summer and all that, the options are nice and light – all fresh and zingy.
I went for a mozzarella, grapes, mint, parsley and hazelnut dish which was just perfect for warm weather dining. The mozzarella was thick and creamy so the grapes cut nicely though it. Hanneke had tuna carpaccio with cucumber and basil, with an apple, jalapeño and avocado sauce which she enjoyed very much. So much so that she reckoned she could eat it all again!.
Hanneke went Old School with roast beef, served as a fillet with a potato rosti, watercress and a truffle sauce. It came cooked as requested, medium rare, and was much enjoyed although she didn’t care for the sauce so simply didn’t pour it over.
I went for a super fresh sea bass fillet, sat on a bed of smoked aubergine with a tomato, olive, shallot and coriander dressing. I have to say this was a real hit! I should have ordered a side salad but we did have a lovely, warm salt crusted sourdough loaf, which is a real favourite of mine.
In case you are wondering, the third choice was lobster linguine which was very popular as we saw plate after plate being delivered to hungry-looking diners.
Well, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it? I, for some reason, became all healthy and went for frozen berries with a yogurt sorbet and warm white chocolate sauce which was again a great hot weather choice. Hanneke, somewhat of a chocolate lover, went for the restaurant’s signature chocolate bombe which is a real showstopper. It goes all gooey and yummy in front of your very eyes.
What about dietary requirements?
There is a separate vegan and vegetarian menu plus staff are very switched on regarding allergies.
Tell us about the drinks
Well, we must mention the cocktail list which is pretty impressive and it’s fun to work your way through. Look out for the Clover Queen made with Boadicea Gin, produced here in Norfolk. Local beers from Woodforde’s are available, too, plus there’s a comprehensive wine list. We stayed alcohol free – yes, it was that hot – with posh pops like rhubarb and cardamom soda for me.
Anything else we need to know?
All day dining is on offer, with breakfasts and afternoon teas an option, too.The all day menu includes favourites like The Ivy shepherd’s pie, monkfish and prawn curry and their classic hamburger.
This is a great place to pop on a frock and just indulge.There are seats outside if you really like people watching.