Reviewed by Dee Ryz
The Ivy’s flagship restaurant in Covent Garden, opened in the early 1900s, and has now grown into a world-renowned brand, with ‘The Ivy’ restaurant chain now available up and down the UK, all of which are decked out in the trademark Art Deco roaring 20s interior design, complete with brass fixtures, stained glass lamps and beautiful tiling, known for their upmarket, quality brasserie-style menu – and the Tower Bridge restaurant was no exception.
The warm restaurant, buzzing and bustling with diners and waiters, couldn’t have been more welcome from the wet and wild night we visited for “an Indian Summer in collaboration with The London Essence Company“.
From Monday 9 September to Monday 7 October, The Ivy Tower Bridge invites guests to enjoy an Indian Summer in collaboration with premium drinks brand, The London Essence Company. Offering diners and passers-by with an exclusive cocktail menu and colourful installation, the campaign will pay homage to the vibrant ingredients that once travelled down the River Thames and alongside the banks of Tower Bridge.
Guests will be able to enjoy a trio of refreshing, limited-edition cocktails including a White Peach & Jasmine Spritz (£10.50) – a refreshing mix of Rinquinquin peach aperitif, Lillet Blanc and Prosecco, blended with London Essence White Peach & Jasmine Crafted Soda, the River Sunset (£9.75) – combining Absolut Helyx, Pampelle grapefruit aperitif, tangerine syrup, brought to life with the aromatic floral and woody hints from London Essence’s Rhubarb & Cardamom Crafted Soda, and finally, The Indian Summer (£9.75) – a fruity infusion of Havana 3, blood orange Cointreau, passion fruit purée, pineapple, cranberry, orange juice, grenadine, lime juice, and a dash of London Essence White Peach & Jasmine Crafted Soda.
On arrival, We were graciously greeted by the hostess who took our soggy jackets and umbrellas, and then showed us to our table. We were seated in a corner booth style table, on luxurious red leather backed sofas, and in prime view of the restaurant. In true brasserie style, our table was covered in a crisp white linen tablecloth, silverware and pale green linen napkins – very elegant. Opposite us, the floor to ceiling windows looked out onto the famous London Bankside, with an impressive view of the City, which was all lit up like a Christmas tree complete with twinkling lights, and of course, the majestic Tower Bridge. Really, the view couldn’t have been better!
Shortly after sitting, our pleasantly attentive waiter, Salvatore, talked us through the vast menu, home to everything from burgers to roasted salmon, where we selected a variety of dishes. We then sat back and absorbed the atmosphere while sipping on a glass of chilled Chablis.
Our starters arrived promptly, and we couldn’t wait to begin feasting! I ordered the seared Atlantic scallops, which came with a Cauliflower purée, caper butter, tamarind glaze, and apple batons – and what a fantastic dish it was! The scallops were soft and succulent, slightly caramelised on both sides and sticky with beautiful tamarind glaze, with the apple batons adding a different texture to the dish promoting the sweetness of the shellfish. My other half ordered the Lobster and Samphire risotto. The creamy arborio rice had a delicate bite and was strewn with slightly chewy, but still delicious, lobster pieces (a pleasant surprise given that when most restaurants offer similar dishes, the amount of lobster is minimal!) and a smattering of salty samphire. An excellent start to our meal all round.
Our table was then duly cleared for the arrival of our mains. I opted for Lemon sole on the bone – yes, that’s right, double fish! – while my partner ordered the Rib-eye on the bone. We also ordered some sides to accompany our dishes including, thick cut chips, creamed spinach, olive oil mash and green beans. The ensuing feast that arrived at our table was rather impressive! Not really knowing what to expect, the complete fish arrived on a platter having being lightly fried, and was covered in a silky beurre noisette with capers and a half lemon – a lovely presentation. The fish was well cooked, if a tad on the oily side, and when squeezed, the acidity of the lemon cut through the dainty fish and really enhanced the flavours of the dish overall. On the other plate, the steak was a real hearty meal – a whopping 12oz chunk of perfectly cooked rare meat, with a side of peppercorn sauce. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Our sides were gorgeous and plentiful – the smooth olive oil mash was an excellent accompaniment to my fish, while steak and chips go together like… well… steak frites! A true classic. The creamy goodness that was the spinach definitely comes recommended too.
Despite the sheer volume of delicious food, we also managed to squeeze in some dessert (there’s always room for pudding, right?). I had the chocolate bombe and oh my word! It was absolutely amazing! The chocolate ball adorning the plate slowly melted away when oozing hot salted caramel was dribbled over the top, revealing an ice cream and honeycomb centre, complete with popping candy – talk about sweet and salty sticky goodness! Our other dessert, the Apple tart fine, was a cross between a traditional apple tart and a tarte Tatin flambéed in calvados at the table, a lovely little bit of theatrics! The flaky pastry was very buttery and melted in our mouths, while the apple was a sharp contrast, resulting in a succulent dessert experience.
Despite now being a ‘chain’ style restaurant, The Ivy has a reputation that is definitely being upheld by the brasseries on offer, and overall, we couldn’t have wanted for a better experience – tight service (thank you Salvatore!), a real variety of dishes, and perfect desserts. Fantastic!
Due to the name, the prices are slightly higher than your average brasserie, however this is not to be sniffed at – the overall quality and experience was well worth the price tag. It might not be for eating out every night of the week, but for a special occasion, or treat, The Ivy at Tower Bridge should not be missed and The London Essence Co Indian Summer cocktails are a real treat not to be missed.
For more information, to view menus or to book a table visit theivytowerbridge.com.
For more about The London Essence Company and an Indian Summer visit www.londonessenceco.com.
The Ivy Tower Bridge, One Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 2AA