Han Eats @ The Ivy, Birmingham

Going to keep this one (fairly) short and sweet, largely because I didn’t take many photos (business lunching and all that) and because we had a fairly limited selection of the menu.

However this I will say. Anyone who spoke to me about The Ivy pre-opening will know I wasn’t overly excited at all for our new arrival. Time and time again I’d repeat ‘it’s not the real Ivy, it’s their grill chain of restaurants and their signature dish is Shepherds pie blah blah blah’. It just didn’t thrill me with anticipation.

Following the opening launch events of drinks and canapes for the Colmore business sets, my intrigue was gently increasing.

Largely because the place is downright beautiful. The restaurant certainly keeps the eyes entertained, each glance around finds something sexy again and again for the eyeballs to peruse. Eclectic artwork adorns the walls, somehow beautifully blending with patterned wallpapers and pops of colour/aysmmetrics all over the shop in the seating and soft furnishings. Could that midnight prosecco piece on the second floor fit in my bag next time? πŸ™„ Hopefully.

Anyway back to food, and following a recent business rendezvous, it’s safe to say I really was pleasantly surprised. My pre-opening cyncism was crushed and I liked it.

It was one of our sunniest Brum days and the place was packed, every table filled on a Thursday lunchtime. Launch hype has not yet ceased (unlike certain revamped Lasan restaurants but we won’t go into that here).

Atmosphere, food and service at The Ivy were all bang on. With steaks and salmon around the table, everyone was satisfied, but most of all me with my cracking blackened cod dish. Perfectly cooked fish coated in a soy dressing melted at my fork’s touch, a yuzu mayonnaise and citrus-pickled fennel topping producing a well put together Japanese style dish. Truffle chips on the side were satisfyingly truffley.

I’m now itching to try more of the seemingly overwhelming menu (that famous shepherds pie included). Sure it’s not all the best thing we’ve ever eaten but in terms of atmosphere, surroundings and service, it’s up there.

At gastro pub prices and slightly more formal service than I like on the casual, it won’t be an everyday meal for me, one for the more gourmet occasion. Brunch also looks ace, not as extortionate as I’d expected so definitely one for the list (along with Wayland’s, Juju’s and Gusto as untouched brunch options).

The Ivy for me is certainly a new place for the stylish set, an alternative/replacement for the more tried and tested BANK, Brindley-places, Fumo, Gaucho even. Not quite the latter’s prices, but a quality of surroundings, food and service expected at those establishments. A new place to be seen but also thoroughly enjoy.

Believe the hype. I’m a fan.

The Ivy

Temple Row, Birmingham.

Disclosure: I was a client, dining during a business lunch. You know the drill. Thanks Free!


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