A warm summer’s evening at The Ivy on the Square, Edinburgh

The Ivy, Edinburgh, Table, Decor,
I had never eaten at a branch of The Ivy before, but had heard good things and when I noticed there was one in Edinburgh, my mind was made up – I was booking a table. Big mistake when you have a baby/toddler! As someone who loves restaurants, not just food but the overall dining experience, I was so looking forward to it – and then I remembered I’m a mum and the restaurant isn’t exactly family-friendly. There was no children’s menu and although we were offered a highchair, it’s far too nice a place for young children.

Thankfully Alfie was asleep when we arrived and stayed asleep until we were midway through our meal... there’s no way I’d have paid for him to have the Shepherd’s Pie from the main menu and it would have been one of few things he’d have eaten. We were able to wheel him through the restaurant in the pushchair and just leave him next to our booth seat and the next table’s wine cooler.

The dining area is beautiful, quite modern in its seating and wall art; which is a stark contrast to the bar area. It reminded me of Harry’s Bar or Bob Bob Ricard in that it was very Art Deco, almost classical. The outdoor area is meant to be more French Brasserie style, but I didn’t really pay too much attention to that; although with the nice weather, I think I’d have rather sat outside. At least I wouldn’t have been so anxious about Alfie making a scene or feeling to under- or over-dressed. The dress code is smart casual, which is always a difficult one as it’s open to debate and interpretation. I wore my yellow tea dress with my Kurt Geiger trainers and wasn’t too sure about my choice of footwear (I had also packed my KG sling backs), but then I saw people in jeans, shorts, tracksuit tops and allsorts, so I needn’t have worried!

I’m not sure why, but we both decided not to have a drink this evening. So I chose the Elderflower Cooler. I guess it was a non-alcoholic version of a Gin & Tonic, containing Seedlip Garden and Æcorn Dry non-alcoholic aperitifs, as well as elderflower cordial and tonic, garnished with edible flowers and cucumber ribbons. I found it quite dry and bitter, especially compared to a normal G&T – but it was refreshing. The annoying thing is, at £5.95, I could have got a small glass of house wine for the same price!
The Ivy, Edinburgh, Dinner, Salmon,
There is a set menu every weekday from 11:30am to 6:30pm, priced at £16.95 for two courses and £21 for three courses. There wasn’t really anything on it that caught my eye, so we both chose from the a la carte menu and in the end, only had the one course.

After much deliberation, I chose the Salmon & Asparagus (£16.95) – pan-fried salmon with asparagus tortellini, peas and champagne sauce. It was beautifully light and fresh, perfect for a warm summer’s evening. I was asked if I was happy for my salmon to be pink and it was cooked to my liking. The sauce was most definitely the highlight, the dish wouldn’t have been dry without it, it just added another dimension of flavour and complemented the fish well. Even better, the sauce was brought out separately in a jug, so I could add as much as I liked – rather than it arriving swamped.
The Ivy, Edinburgh, Dinner, Shepherd's Pie,
Ash ordered The Ivy Shepherd’s Pie (£14.50). You can’t really go wrong with a classic, even if it was a warm evening. It’s also one of those dishes that is really hard to actually get wrong. It was presented beautifully, as an individual pie and came served with gravy (in a gravy boat). Ash said it was a bit small and he doesn’t remember it being anything special.

The dessert menu was pretty dreamy, but as Alfie woke up and didn’t enjoy the sourdough bread I’d ordered for the table, we decided to settle up in order to get him some dinner and get back to the car, and hotel. While my first experience of The Ivy wasn’t what I was hoping for, I’d love to return and would even return to the Edinburgh branch if I were in the city – but either way, I’d be child-free. The afternoon tea menu looks divine. It would be a great place to go for a catch-up with girlfriends, as the wine and cocktail menus are decent. The restaurant just has that lovely relaxed, but elegant ambience. To be honest, bar snacks and cocktails al fresco would suit me just fine!

Love, Lucy xx 

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