Harden's survey result
“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!!”
“It’s a nice-looking and handily-placed brasserie”, but this recent Ivy spin-off is “really not as special as it tries to make itself out to be”. Fans say its food is “very acceptable for Covent Garden” but cynics feel that “they’re trading off the kudos of the brand, without putting the effort in”. Top Tip – “good for a special brunch”.
If you’re going to roll out a brand like ‘The Ivy’, for Pete’s sake, do better than this new lukewarm knock-off, right by Covent Garden market; apologists say it’s handy with a “nice al fresco” area, but given its “bland” food, “perfunctory” service and “lack of ambience” you “expect better of the Caprice stable”.
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Last orders: midnight, Sun 11.30 pm