Hot Spot: The Ivy Market Grill

W founder Warren Johnson checks out "The Ivy's younger sister".

1 Henrietta Street, London WC2E 8PS, 020 3301 0200 

The story

Dubbed The Ivy’s younger sister, The Ivy Market Grill is the latest addition to Richard Caring’s portfolio of restaurants. Situated on a corner of Covent Garden’s piazza, the latest incarnation of The Ivy brand markets itself on the same exemplary service and dishes, but caters for those looking for a quick bite pre- or post-theatre. Sean Burbidge, formerly head chef of Gordon Ramsay’s Petrus in Knightsbridge, runs the kitchen.

The reality

It’s an expansive, two-floored venue comprising the restaurant, bar, café and dining terrace. With a nod to late-19th century grandeur, the interior is sports green leather upholstery, art-deco lighting and mosaic floors. Those mourning The Ivy’s closure for refurbishment will be pleased that the all-hours, all-meals grill offers many of the mothership’s favourites.

The damage

You’re looking at £35 plus wine and service for a three-course meal. But with mains from £12.75, it doesn’t have to break the bank…

Signature dish

The modern British menu is comprehensive with dishes served straight from the grill. I had the crispy duck salad and the whole lemon sole. Dark treacle tart with clotted cream was calling for dessert. For those needing a quick (but delicious) fix, shepherd’s pie and Champagne is the only option on the post-theatre menu.

Dining experience ****

The staff were attentive yet unobtrusive, though the tables were perhaps a little too close for comfort. On a sunny day, the al fresco dining area seems a nice lunch option. 

Chance of getting a last-minute booking ***

Walk-ins are encouraged (you may have to queue, but there’s ample space for lounging at the bar).

Client wow factor ****

More fun than wow, unlike its older sister.

Overall ****

A great addition to the London restaurant scene and a further sign of the re-emergence of Covent Garden as a destination for Londoners rather than just tourists.

Reviewed by Warren Johnson, founder, W 

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