RestaurantsLondonSt John's WoodNW8

Harden's says

Caprice Holdings continues to expand its Ivy brand with a third casual café offering in the heart of St John's Wood. The 100-cover venue, on the former site of Megan's Café Grill & Bar (RIP), includes Parisian-style street-tables.

survey result

Summary

£56
   ££
1
Poor
1
Poor
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Trading on The Ivy’s name, but nothing like the real thing”: outlets of Richard Caring’s sub-sub-brand are “squarely bistro in nature” and proving less successful than their brasserie namesakes in capturing diners’ affections. True, some do tout them as a “dependable if unexciting” choice, but – lacking the pizzazz which carries the experience at their grander cousins – the focus falls more on the “bland, by-numbers” food and service that’s “neither here nor there”. Top Tip – “Prefer breakfast to the expensive lunch and dinner options”.

Summary

£56
   ££
1
Poor
1
Poor
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Trading on The Ivy’s name, but nothing like the real thing”: outlets of Richard Caring’s sub-sub-brand are “squarely bistro in nature” and proving less successful than their brasserie namesakes in capturing diners’ affections. True, some do tout them as a “dependable if unexciting” choice, but – lacking the pizzazz which carries the experience at their grander cousins – the focus falls more on the “bland, by-numbers” food and service that’s “neither here nor there”. Top Tip – “Prefer breakfast to the expensive lunch and dinner options”.

Summary

£59
   ££
1
Poor
2
Average
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“A dilution of the Ivy name” – the cheaper, more bistro-esque ‘Café’ sub-brand is “a woeful imitation of the original” that’s “all style and has nothing else to recommend it”. Even many of those recommending breakfast – its best feature – say the results are “very predictable”, and later in the day you get “standard pub grub-type food at fine dining prices” served by “brittle” and “amateur” staff. “Avoid at all costs!”

Summary

£57
   ££
1
Poor
2
Average
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Bistro fare that’s “deeply average at best”, particularly at the newest St John’s Wood branch (on the site of Megan’s, RIP) of these still-young spin-offs from the legendary original – plus “snobbish and unhelpful service” – do not bode well for Richard Caring’s rapid roll-out of (ie shameless cashing-in on) this celebrated brand, of which these The ‘Ivy Cafés’ are the sub-sub-brand (compared with the slightly more upmarket sub-brand ‘The Ivy Grills & Brasseries’). The West End outlets are better, and fans do say their atmosphere generally “lifts them out of the ordinary”, but “with this caché surely they can afford better chefs?”

For 30 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).

Have you eaten at The Ivy Café?

Restaurant details

Yes
No dress code
100
Opening hours

Last orders: 11 pm

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