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The Ivy Clifton Brasserie, Bristol: restaurant review

The Ivy brand is synonymous with sophistication, fine dining and exclusive clientele. But does Bristol’s new Brasserie branch, the first outside of London, live up to the hype?

In a nutshell

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The Ivy, proper, has been a stalwart of the London restaurant and social scene since 1917. And, in recent years, its bevy of brasseries across the capital have become reliable meeting points for quick, classic British food. The Ivy Clifton Brasserie, its first branch outside of London, has 130 covers for walk-ins. (Benefit one of moving West.). Overlooking The Mall Gardens in Bristol’s most affluent suburb, like its siblings, it offers affordable all-day modern British dining (including Champagne afternoon tea).

But this is no cut-and-paste job from London. Bristol-inspired cocktails – a Poison Avon and The Clifton Royale – are impeccable. Art deco prints line the tall Georgian walls, in classic Ivy style, but are mixed with others depicting the local architecture and West Country heritage.


What’s cooking

Group executive chef Sean Burbidge, The Ivy Collection’s chef director Mark Askew and head chef Dominik Maleki are the brains behind the menu. There’s plenty of British trad on the menu – prawn cocktail, shepherd’s pie and the like but aromatic duck curry, chicken Milanese, and mozzarella di buffalo, too.


What’s the room like

The room is divided into the cocktail lounge (plus seated bar space) and the orangery, which backs onto a small decorative garden. There are two private dining rooms available for hire, too. Staff hit that sweet spot between formal and charming, attentive and discreet and the Ivy’s reputation is clearly having the desired impact on diners – locals are dressing to impress.


Menu must-orders and misfires

Stand-out stars from the menu included the grilled whole lobster. Though delivered with crackers and picks, all the hard work was already done, so all that remained was to simply devour the velvet-soft seafood that slipped easily from its shell. The dairy-free coconut panna cotta, too, tasted just as good as its creamy mark. Cheeky wobble aside, its topping of shaved coconut and hint of chilli was perfect.


The verdict

The Ivy Clifton Brasserie is doing everything it can to become a Bristol institution and, already, we reckon it’s well on its way.


Words by Rosie Sharratt, September 2016

Image credits: Paul Winch-Furness


The Ivy Clifton Brasserie

42-44 Caledonia Place

Clifton

Bristol

BS8 4DN


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