RestaurantsLondonKensingtonW8

survey result

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.

Summary

£59
   ££
2
Average
2
Average
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“On a nice day in the garden, there couldn’t be a better way to have lunch!” (or an “amazing brunch”) than at the Chelsea Garden branch of Richard Caring’s bold brand-extension – “easily the best of the Ivy offshoots”. But even fans concede that “service could be better” and that “you don’t come here for the food”: “it’s all about that warm, buzzy atmosphere in glorious surroundings (outside in summer you’ll swear you are in the South of France, watching the Provencal rosé making its way around the beautifully dressed ladies-who-lunch!)” The other branches offer a similar trade-off, with the outlets in Kensington and by Tower Bridge (“incredible views from the picture windows”) both scoring well for ambience, although their “comfort food” offerings are even more “memorably mediocre” than in SW3. ‘Ivy in the Park’ which is to open in Canary Wharf is the most recently announced arrival in the group (at 50 Canada Square Park). On the overall concept, reporters are split. For a majority “although the spin-offs are not to be compared with the original Ivy, their name does help give a certain dignity to the experience”. For a significant number though, “the brand is being trashed” with these “pretentious, unimaginative, chichi and average” imitations: “Obviously I understand the idea is to shamelessly exploit and monetise The Ivy name, but this is taking it too far!!”

For 31 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 5 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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