There’s never a dull day in Soho. I take for granted that I get to be here everyday. There’s always such an array of people; visiting, working, sight-seeing.
Having worked here for three years, it really is a central hub of EVERYTHING. Close to Oxford St if you really need to pick up anything (which for me is regularly…), but far enough away to avoid the chaos, it’s the perfect mix of food, drink and something a little bit different.
A few weeks ago something new popped up. We take notice of everything at happens in Soho, so soon enough everyone was talking about the new Ivy Soho Brasserie that had popped up on Broadwick Street metres away from the famous Berwick Street market.
The range of food in Soho has always been something that makes it stand out. Cheap eats, chains, unique pop ups and slightly more expensive spots for special occasions and client meetings – there’s something for everyone. There may be a few Brasseries across the capital, but this is no chain. At first glance you may think it perfectly slots into the latter ‘expensive eats’, but as soon as you see the menu you’ll realise it isn’t at all.
Visiting on a Saturday lunchtime, we were served the Weekend Brunch menu, which included anything from Eggs Benedict to a full three course steak lunch. It’s the perfect place for a quick less expensive bite, but equally if you want to go the whole hog and celebrate with multiple courses, you really can.
On arrival, after pre-booking (essential as it gets busy), we asked to sit outside, and were lucky enough to grab a spot with blazing heaters and little wool green blankets, for if it got a little chilly. In fact, the heat reminded me of dining in NYC last Spring.
We ordered some olives while we browsed the menu, and they’re as chunky as they look! If you’re an olive fan, you can always tell if you’re served good olives, and these were top notch. Soon enough our cocktails arrived while we chatted – we tried different options so we could sip each other’s. A tall ‘Aphrodite’ cocktail containing frozen cranberry, Beefeater gin, fresh pink grapefruit in shimmering gold flute (which left Charlotte with gold lips!) and a large balloon Ivy League Spritz, which reminded me of a berry flavoured version of an orange Aperol Spritz, of course topped with prosecco.
I chatted to the waitress about gluten free options and she encouraged us to order as we fancied, and she would double check with the chef. The great thing about coming to lunch was the simplicity of the ingredients in each dish. A good chef with good quality ingredients shouldn’t have much of a problem with adapting to GF. Of course, things get confusing when you order pastry or bread based dishes, but I really enjoy ‘meat, potato, greens’ type food, so we were more than sorted. We both ordered gluten free in order to try as many of the options as possible. These dishes were all naturally gluten free.
To start we went for the Tuna Capaccio and Mozzarella di Bufala. I was recommended the tuna by a colleague who had visited the week before and it was lovely and light as she described. The raw yellowfin tuna was thinly sliced and served with spiced avocado, lime creme fraiche, radishes and coriander shoots. If you’re a fan of a traditional pesto based started, Charlotte’s order is for you. A perfect mix of mozzarella, pesto, baby basil, toasted pine nuts and asparagus and edamame – I had a to sneak a bit.
Having opted for fish for starter, we both fancied the steak, and were recommended wine by the manager to accompany. We’d also heard great things about the fillet steak was properly the thickest steak I’ve ever come across, and perfectly cooked to medium rare. Slightly pricier than other dishes, it’s properly not the most cost effective choice, but if you’re dining for a treat, it’s well worth it. We ordered some baked sweet potato with yoghurt and kale pesto and Tenderstem broccoli with lemon oil as sides to share. The waitress explained which of the sides and sauces were gluten free, and as the chips were cooked in a frier that had breadcrumbs, they weren’t gluten free. The sweet potato however was baked separately – so all good.
A little breather was necessary before approaching dessert. We were told by the waitress how the Chocolate Bomb was the best thing on the menu. A quick check that it was gluten free and we ordered, along with the Frozen Berries with white chocolate sauce. I’m SO glad we ordered the Chocolate Bombe. On presentation at the table, the waitress poured hot melted chocolate over the dessert as we watched it melt. At once everyone else in the restaurant looked on in envy and soon started to ask questions as to what we’d ordered. It’s honestly one of the best desserts I’ve eaten and think you could tell by the look on my face. A combination of light fluffy cream, intense chocolate and crisp honeycomb. We shared both, and the the Frozen Berries were a nice light option which was less rich, but just as nice.
We chatted and chatted, finished our bottle of wine and then ended the day by going for a wander in Soho. What’s nice about the Ivy Brasserie is the contrast between inside and out. Outside resembles dining in New York; bright, surrounded by greenery (perfect for food shots), whereas inside is more secluded, darker, with music. It’s a great date spot, but equally fun for a girly catch up. I’ll definitely be heading back when I’m next in need of a treat.
*A huge thank you to The Ivy Brasserie for having us dine. As always, all opinions are my own.