After launching the Ivy Market Grill in 2014 and the Ivy Chelsea Garden earlier this year, Richard Caring has further expanded his most bankable brand. His restaurant group Caprice Holdings have snapped up the former site of Pavilion in Kensington – a surprisingly short-lived venture by Foxton’s estate agency founder Jon Hunt and chef Adam Simmonds, who came from Marlow’s Danesfield House. It will become the Ivy Kensington Brasserie.
The second site, formerly the Union Café on Marylebone Lane, was relaunched today (3 November) as The Ivy Café. The Caprice group have once again teamed up with designer du jour Martin Brudnizki for the fit-out.
Although the café is a more casual string in Caring’s bow, the interior still echoes its glitzier counterparts with an antique brass top bar, pendant lighting, marble floor and vintage red leather banquettes. The all-day menu features breakfast, elevenses, brunch, lunch, afternoon snacks, cream tea and dinner. There is also a ‘short but sweet’ cocktail menu.
Dishes include: Marmite, mustard and parsley butter; and chopped avocado with roast plum tomatoes and poached free-range hen’s egg on toasted granary with spicy sesame dressing; The Ivy Café’s HLT (grilled halloumi, avocado, lettuce and tomato served with thick-cut chips), and the Croque Monsieur (ham hock, Gruyère and Dijon mustard béchamel). On the Ã la carte menu: Chicken liver parfait, served with toasted ciabatta, caramelised hazelnut and a cherry & Szechuan pepper compote; roasted butternut squash with grains, salad of buckwheat, chickpea, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate, with crumbled feta, harissa yoghurt and coriander dressing; and lobster risotto with fennel, lemon and tomato. And for dessert: mini salted caramel balls; melting chocolate bombe with milk foam, vanilla ice cream and honeycomb and hot salted caramel sauce.
With his two current Ivy spin-offs already a success (especially Chelsea Garden, where it’s almost impossible to get a table) it certainly looks as though Caring has no intentions of slowing down. Even the mothership has been given a new lease of life – The Ivy proper reopened in June with a revamped look and menu.