Should you visit The Ivy? I’ll be letting you know if the newly opened restaurant and bar lives up to expectations.
The Ivy opened in late November 2018 and was Manchester’s biggest restaurant opening of the year with an impressive 535 covers, spread over four floors.
The ground floor includes a brasserie, which by definition, is a relaxed French restaurant serving cheap and simple food.
The Dalton Room is a private dining space which occupies the first floor and can seat up to 20 guests. The exclusive space is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as drinks and canapés for up to 40 guests.
Above the Dalton Room you’ll find the Ivy Asia, a restaurant and bar serving Asian inspired cocktails and dishes, with a beautiful marble floor and setting.
The top floor is the all-weather roof garden, with a fully retractable roof and fire pits. This floor was the area that suffered a recent fire and is currently undergoing repair works which are expected to be completed in March.
Despite the fire, the spectacular Spinningfields venue certainly doesn’t appear to be quiet and has unsurprisingly been popular amongst celebrities such as Sir Alex Ferguson and Declan Donnely, following in the footsteps of its London restaurant which has welcomed the likes of Tom Cruise and the Beckham’s.
Below, I’ll be talking you through my visit to The Ivy brasserie.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by a very friendly doorman dressed in a shamrock-green overcoat and flat cap, who kindly held open the heavy door. By the check-in desk stood two staff members who were quick to greet us and have us seated.
When we arrived at our table, the table hadn’t quite yet been set which left me standing up for around 30 seconds whilst the waitress corrected this. Once seated, we were disappointingly left without an offer of water for the table.
Just over 20 minutes later, still no offer of a drink. 25 minutes later, our drinks orders were taken and the water arrived promptly but with the news that our alcoholic drinks were experiencing a delay due to how busy the restaurant and bar is. Had we not of ordered water for the table, the total waiting time for a drink would have been 35 minutes.
I honestly can’t think of another restaurant or bar that has left me waiting this long for a drink and when such a place values itself on its quality of service, this falls well below expectation.
Although, the food did arrive rather quickly and when there was opportunity to speak to the staff, they were more than polite and friendly.
The brasserie menu doesn’t offer much different to your typical bar and grill menu in Manchester but there is a good selection.
Starters range from £5.50 to £11.75 and include options such as roast pumpkin soup (creamed pumpkin with ricotta, pine nuts and crispy sage – £5.50), duck liver parfait (caramelised hazelnuts, truffle, tomarind glaze with pear and ginger compote, toasted brioche – £6.95) and prawn cocktail (classic prawn cocktail with baby gem, avocado, cherry tomatoes and Marie Rose sauce – £9.75).
Mains range from £9.75 to £27.95 and include options such as The Ivy shepherd’s pie (slow-braised lamb shoulder with beef and Wookey Hale Cheddar potato mash – £13.95), chicken milanese (brioche-crumbed chicken breast with a fried egg, Parmesan and truffle cream sauce – £15.95), and warm chicken salad (grilled miso-cooked chicken with a salad of herbs, barley, apples, grapes, sesame, pomegranate and a tarragon yoghurt sauce on the side – £13.95).
Desserts range from £3.50 to £9.95 and include options such as the chocolate bombe (melting chocolate bombe with a vanilla ice cream and honeycomb centre with hot salted caramel sauce – £8.50), rum baba (plantation rum soaked sponge with Chantilly cream and raspberries – £8.25) and apple tart fine (baked apple tart with vanilla cream and Calvados flambé – £8.25).
For my starter I chose the duck liver parfait (caramelised hazelnuts, truffle, tomarind glaze with pear and ginger compote, toasted brioche – £6.95).
The brioche, caramelised hazelnuts and the pear and ginger compote went together really well, giving the starter a slightly sweeter flavouring. My only recommendation is to ask the staff for two lots of brioche before ordering as one slice certainly isn’t enough. This left me waiting for over 5 minutes to receive another slice before I could continue eating. All of this could be avoided by giving a reasonable amount to begin with.
For my main I chose the chicken milanese (brioche-crumbed chicken breast with a fried egg, Parmesan and truffle cream sauce – £15.95).
The brioche-crumbed chicken breast was good but it’s definitely only on par with restaurants such as Piccolino where I’ve eaten similar before. The cream sauce was a little sickly and I’m left wondering whether I should have opted for something different.
To accompany my main, I chose the truffle and parmesan chips (£4.50) which were delicious and generously topped.
Amy chose the crispy duck salad for her main course (warm crispy duck with five spice dressing, toasted cashews, watermelon, beansprouts, sesame seeds, coriander and ginger – £12.25).
Amy said “The duck salad was really flavoursome and the duck and watermelon went really well together. However, I found the salad particularly watery and so this made it a little less enjoyable.
If I order a salad for my main, I expect it to arrive with plenty of leaves and veg. This in my eyes was still a starter portion despite them charging an extra £3.75 for a ‘large’ portion. I’d luckily ordered a side but most wouldn’t with a salad and I would imagine they would be really disappointed and left hungry.”
A side portion of zucchini fritti (crispy courgette fries with lemon, chilli and mint yoghurt) was Amy’s choice of sides.
Amy said “A great side to have with any meal and as you can see the portion size is more than generous! There is enough to share between two and maybe three people, dependent on appetite. The only thing I would say is I prefer them cut a little thicker but I definitely recommend.”
For dessert Amy and I shared the chocolate bombe (melting chocolate bombe with a vanilla ice cream and honeycomb centre with hot salted caramel sauce – £8.50). If you’d like to see the video of this dessert, head over to my Instagram (massey_eats).
Don’t get me wrong, this dessert looks fantastic but it certainly isn’t worth it for the price. Other than the theatrical melting sphere dome, the dessert lacks flavour and is essentially a scoop of ice cream with a hint of chocolate and caramel sauce.
To begin I chose an espresso martini (£8), a classic that so many bars get wrong. But I thoroughly enjoyed this so kudos to the bartender. I’ve also heard they make a good salted espresso martini!
I was driving so it was soft drinks for the remainder of the meal. On the left is the strawberry and vanilla soda (£5.95). On the right is the peach and elderflower iced tea (£4.50). Both drinks were delicious and are great options if you don’t drink or are the designated driver.
- 1 750ml Aqua Still – £3.50
- 1 Strawberry & Vanilla Soda – £5.95
- 1 peach and elderflower iced tea – £4.50
- 1 Raspberry & Rhubarb G&T – £9.50
- 1 Espresso Martini – £8
Drinks total – £31.45
- 1 Zucchini – £5.75
- 1 Duck liver parfait – £6.95
- 1 Large crispy duck salad – £12.25
- 1 Chicken milanese – £15.95
- 1 Chocolate Bombe – £8.50
- 1 Truffle chips – £4.50
Food total = £53.90
+ Service charge = £10.67
Total bill = £96.02
- Stunning venue
- Variety of options on the menu
- Friendly staff
- Knowledgable staff
- Service speed
- Inform of extra charges
- Service charge
Overall, friendly staff and a good meal with but certainly nothing standout. I found the price of a meal to be quite high as my chicken milanese cost £15.95. I personally don’t think the standard of food warrants the price.
For the number of staff on shift, the service speed needs to improve & staff should inform of extra charges when taking orders. E.g. When asking for a starter portion for your main, the final bill shouldn’t then say large duck salad with an extra £3.75 incurred.
I also think the service charge should be an option on the pin pad rather than added to your final bill and there should be full transparency on where the service charge ends up.
WILL I RETURN?
I’d return but most likely to the asian restaurant and bar to see how the food and service varies. I’d definitely come back for drinks when the rooftop bar re-opens.
Address: The Pavilion, Byrom St, Manchester, M3 3HG