RestaurantsLondonKensingtonW8

survey result

Summary

£72
  £££
2
Average
2
Average
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“You wouldn’t go for ‘haute cuisine’, but as a jolly place to eat comfort food in a spectacular setting, it is hard to beat” – that’s the upbeat view, anyway, on this now-“ubiquitous” brasserie chain. Eight years and 40 openings later, the spin-offs increasingly eclipse the Theatreland original (see also), whose Edwardian features provide the style-guide for its nationwide ‘roll out’. “Even if the unchallenging food reaches no heights, there’s a consistent buzz”, which makes them a “posh”, “fun” choice for a get-together, if not a particularly foodie one. This is particularly the case at the landmark London off-shoots: at ‘Chelsea Garden’ (“gorgeous greenery”); Kensington (“slick”, with a “pretty glitzy crowd”); and on the Thames (“great views over Tower Bridge”). But while it’s always been acknowledged that the mass offering is “a shadow of the mothership’s” – with “average grub at not-so-average prices” – the feeling that the brand has become just “a chain that does not excite” is gaining ever-stronger currency. Service seems more “stretched” nowadays, and a sliding ambience rating is making the whole offering seem ever-more “overrated, for all its modern art and perky décor”.

Summary

£66
  £££
2
Average
3
Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Always ambient and fun” – Richard Caring’s stretching (twisting?) of the Ivy brand is easy to snipe at but has so far avoided degenerating into farce. For sure, “the food is certainly nothing superior”: fans may claim it’s “more than adequate”, but its overall ratings nowadays are only just the right side of poor. That said, even critics of the cooking often feel that the “lovely” interiors and “welcoming service” provide compensation, and fit the bill for making an occasion of a meal. In the capital, the most mentioned outlets are The Ivy Chelsea Garden (“delightful garden tables and ideal for a noisy girls’ night out”); and The Ivy Kensington Brasserie (“huge fun, loads of buzz” and “always a treat”). The Ivy City Garden and Canary Wharf’s Ivy in the Park follow along in terms of volume of feedback. The newest member of the spin-off family is The Ivy Victoria – a vast space with 300 guests over two floors.

Summary

£60
  £££
2
Average
2
Average
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Maybe the brand is a bit stretched”, but Richard Caring’s bold expansion is paying off by-and-large, certainly in commercial terms, and – though most branches’ average food-rating is run-of-the-mill – by the standards of large chains, the group delivers a consistent-enough formula, whereby folks accept predictable nursery fodder in return for a dependable dose of ‘affordable glamour’. The “beautiful and festive” Ivy Chelsea Garden (SW3) is the best known in the stable and it’s particularly “wonderful if you manage to get a table in their fabulous garden”. The “big and buzzy” Ivy Kensington Brasserie (W8) is less highly rated, but nevertheless fills a vital niche in the local market for a comfortable, atmospheric and versatile rendezvous (“its bar is also a fun place for a drink”). The City branches (The Ivy Tower Bridge, The Ivy City Garden EC2) and Canary Wharf outlet (The Ivy in the Park, E14) are the highest rated all-round (perhaps reflecting the ongoing lack of convivial spaces out east). “Awesome views” at Tower Bridge are distinct client-pleasers. Other branches taking above-average flak include The Ivy Soho Brasserie, W1 (“busy mayhem” with “slow and disorganised service”) and The Ivy Market Grill, WC2 (“nothing special, rather overpriced, and very busy”). See also Granary Square Brasserie.

Summary

£60
  £££
2
Average
2
Average
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Maybe the brand is a bit stretched”, but Richard Caring’s bold expansion is paying off by-and-large, certainly in commercial terms, and – though most branches’ average food-rating is run-of-the-mill – by the standards of large chains, the group delivers a consistent-enough formula, whereby folks accept predictable nursery fodder in return for a dependable dose of ‘affordable glamour’. The “beautiful and festive” Ivy Chelsea Garden (SW3) is the best known in the stable and it’s particularly “wonderful if you manage to get a table in their fabulous garden”. The “big and buzzy” Ivy Kensington Brasserie (W8) is less highly rated, but nevertheless fills a vital niche in the local market for a comfortable, atmospheric and versatile rendezvous (“its bar is also a fun place for a drink”). The City branches (The Ivy Tower Bridge, The Ivy City Garden EC2) and Canary Wharf outlet (The Ivy in the Park, E14) are the highest rated all-round (perhaps reflecting the ongoing lack of convivial spaces out east). “Awesome views” at Tower Bridge are distinct client-pleasers. Other branches taking above-average flak include The Ivy Soho Brasserie, W1 (“busy mayhem” with “slow and disorganised service”) and The Ivy Market Grill, WC2 (“nothing special, rather overpriced, and very busy”). See also Granary Square Brasserie.

For 32 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).

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Restaurant details

10
No dress code
80

The Ivy Kensington Brasserie Restaurant Diner Reviews

Reviews of The Ivy Kensington Brasserie Restaurant in W8, London by users of Hardens.com. Also see the editors review of The Ivy Kensington Brasserie restaurant.
Alasdair S
We arrived for a coffee at 11 am and we’r...
Reviewed 9 months, 17 days ago

"We arrived for a coffee at 11 am and we’re shown to a table near the bar. By 1115 no one had come to speak to us or take an order. At 1120 we ordered two coffees, which by 1140 had not arrived. I called a headwaiter and asked him “how can two coffees take 20 minutes?” He said “it’s not my fault”. Then a bad tempered waiter asked if we’d like. Glass of water, and we said yes. Two glasses arrived but no water. Five minutes later we asked him for the water, he brought a carafe, poured two glasses and banged the carafe on the table. The bill arrived at 1146 and was 8.89 including, believe it or not, 12.5% service charge. The worst experience in a Brasserie anywhere"

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Opening hours

Last orders: 11 pm, Fri & Sat 11.30 pm, Sun 10.30 pm

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