The Ivy Winchester

The Ivy has been a big player in London’s dining and social scene since it opened in 1917. Now this glamorous iconic restaurant has brought it’s own inimitable style to the South Coast.

The Ivy Winchester Brasserie* has a similar style to its London counterpart with the acclaimed Martin Brundnizki Design Studio making its mark on this new foodie hotspot.

Take a look at the stunning restaurant and my thoughts on the service and food…there’s quite a few food pictures too!

Come on in!

As well as the main restaurant and bar, there’s a Parisian-style terrace during the warmer months that brings Winchester High Street to life in the evening. The terrace gives the whole area a very European feel and the menu is a fabulous curation of classic British and internationally inspired dishes.

The dazzlingly sophisticated onyx bar

The dazzlingly sophisticated bar just past the entrance makes you feel like you’re walking onto an old Hollywood set. And, the glamour doesn’t stop there with cosy booths and intimate tables surrounded by Art Deco furniture, accessories and artwork.

Cheers!

I haven’t got many pictures of the interior as I didn’t want to be intrusive to anyone else dining that evening. These are from the end of our meal when the majority of people had started to head home – I have become a secret stealth camera ninja! Don’t worry, I’ve managed to get lots of pictures of the food though, that was much easier.

We were sat in one of these cosy booths along the side of the restaurant opposite the bar

Pops of colour and layers of pattern channel a modernised Art Deco 1920s look

It was date night for me and Henry and we enjoyed having dinner and reconnecting after a busy few weeks. We started with a couple of cocktails while we talked about our day and got excited about having a few days off to go and see Jack Johnson at the Eden Project.

We had a bit of an indulgent evening with three incredible courses of food. It’s going to get a bit picture heavy from here on out but, you’ll see why. It is a visual treat and it’s not often we go out and there isn’t something wrong with our meal or the service.

The English Spritz – Earl Grey Gin, lemon & orange oleo-saccharum, Cocchi Americano, Prosecco and soda

Very tasty, although I would suggest you give it a gentle stir. I didn’t and I drank through the layers, it definitely needed a quick blend with the straw. Drinks with fizzy elements can’t be shaken so sometimes they need a little stir to help them on their way.

Orchard G&T – Chase Seville orange gin, RinQuinQuin à la Péche & Creole bitters with Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic 

If you like something less sweet and more towards the bitter end of the spectrum of flavours then this G&T will be right up your street. It’s very refreshing and the Chase Seville orange gin has a lovely delicate flavour, no artificial orange twang.

To start…

Atlantic sea scallops – Pea purée with broad beans, lemon zest, sea cress and crispy shallots

These were cooked beautifully, scallops are one of my favourite foods! I’ve not had scallops and sea cress before and the combination is a goodie – seas cress has a similar texture and taste as samphire only it’s a little less salty.

Henry and I decided to share starters so we could try those and the prawns and I’m so pleased we did as both were delicious. The tempura prawns were fabulous but I think for me the scallop combination was my favourite.

Oh my, I’m going to be saying how lovely things were a lot throughout this post. It was incredible, and yes it was a treat from The Ivy Winchester but I would say if it wasn’t good. My Mum recently visited with her closest girlfriends and reiterated the same praise for The Ivy and she’s a hard woman to please! I think we’re headed there for champagne afternoon tea very soon and I can’t wait, if it’s anything like my dinner I know we’ll be in for a really incredible foodie experience.

Tempura prawns – crunchy fried Nobashi prawns with pickled mouli, cucumber, edamame and a matcha tea sauce

To share: Zucchini fritti – crispy courgette fries with lemon, chilli and mint yoghurt

Mains…

Rib-eye 12oz/340g – Dry aged English rib-eye (on the bone)

Cooked to perfection. This steak was the envy of my boyfriend who was very pleased with his blackened cod but did covet the flavours of my steak and just how well it had been cooked. I think I’m going to have to treat him to one of these when we go next. I’m not sure my picture does this dish justice – if you like a steak then you will not be disappointed with the rib eye!

Henry’s blackened cod was very delicate and the pickled fennel and chilli and yuzu mayonnaise added a real twist on a fish we’re all very familiar with.

Blackened cod fillet – Baked in a banana leaf with citrus-pickled fennel, grilled broccoli, chilli and yuzu mayonnaise

To share: Truffle and Parmesan chips

These are a firm favourite of mine, and these did not disappoint. I’m not usually a fan of thicker cut chips but these worked very well with the flavours sinking into the fluffy hot potato.

Desserts…

The chocolate bombe comes with a bit of showmanship and drama – it’s the diva of desserts.

This perfect looking golden shimmery chocolate ball is put down before you…

Chocolate bombe – Melting chocolate bombe with a vanilla ice cream and honeycomb centre with hot salted caramel sauce

…and it is covered in hot salted caramel sauce to expose the ice cream and honey comb centre. There’s a bit of flair and showmanship to how it’s done and I could tell it had caught the eye of some other guests who I think put an order for one too!

It’s so incredibly light, while the rich salted caramel sauce binds all the different components together. It’s so creamy which is balanced by the crunchy honeycomb and salted caramel. If you’ve got a sweet tooth you can’t miss out on this!

Frozen berries – mixed berries with yoghurt sorbet and warm white chocolate sauce

While the bombe had showmanship and was delicious my personal favourite was Henry’s dessert. The frozen berries were a simple twist on classic flavours and tasted like strawberries and condensed milk on steroids!

The fruity frozen berries were so well matched with the white chocolate sauce which had depth and was very sweet but not in an overwhelming way. I think it was the yogurt sorbet that added a little tart kick that helped balance out the sweetness.

Two very full but happy people – what an experience – we enjoyed every minute!

I can’t rave about The Ivy enough, I am so pleased we now have a restaurant of this calibre nearby – it’s stylish yet still laid back and the service is excellent.

From start to finish the food was superb and the service impeccable which resulted in a wonderfully relaxed evening and the perfect start to our long weekend.

It was very busy when we went, which was on a Wednesday evening, people were still pouring in at half ten in the evening to have a meal. I know that some tables are held back for walk in customers each night but, if you have your heart set on visiting I think it would be worth booking a table at The Ivy Winchester.

As you can tell we’ll be headed back very soon – have you visited one of The Ivy’s Brasserie’s before or perhaps the original one in London? What did you think? Do you have any recommendations for food or drink choices for our next visit?

 


*PR experience but, as ALWAYS, all opinions are my own otherwise what’s the point?!

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