The Ivy Clifton Brasserie: Review

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The Ivy Clifton Brasserie - Exterior

 

The Bristol branch of The Ivy – The Ivy Clifton Brasserieopened in August 2016 with much fanfare. Open 7 days a week and seating a total of 130 diners at a time in a variety of rooms, it’s the first The Ivy Collection restaurant to open outside of London – and based on a recent meal there, bar a few niggles, we predict it’ll be a success.

While it’s certainly a grand building, there’s none of the stuffy air that you may expect from a brand of this stature: staff were smiley and friendly from when we were welcomed right through to the time that we left, and the happy buzz of our fellow diners was great to hear: no hushed tones here.

We walked through the beautiful main dining room, with its feature bar, huge arched windows and snazzy tiled floor, through to the orangery: a light and airy room that was the perfect setting for a warm summer’s evening.

 

The Ivy Clifton Brasserie - Interior

 

Sadly, we were positioned next to the servers’ station – literally right next to it, the table touching it – which on one hand meant that we received prompt service, but on the other meant that we were disturbed throughout our meal by waiting staff bustling to and fro.

We began our evening with a cocktail each, ordered from the extensive drinks list which was surprisingly well-priced. My Clifton Royale, at £10.25, was the most expensive of the bunch but well worth it: The Ivy’s take on a Kir Royale with a blend of champagne, sloe gin and hibiscus, and rose liqueur adding a beautiful sweetness.

My sister chose the Angel’s Share (£9.50): a long cocktail described as a take on a Mojito, with rum, kumquats and Kaffir lime leaves giving a lovely, almost tropical flavour.

 

 

The Ivy Clifton Brasserie - Cocktails

 

Choosing our food was a little more tricky: the menu’s pretty long – and again, we were glad to see that prices were on par with elsewhere in Clifton. Despite the length of the menu, we were surprised to see just two vegetarian mains on offer – we’d have expected more.

For my starter, it was the crunchy prawns with wasabi (£9.75) that stood out straight away. The presentation was amazing – and it was certainly a generous portion. The crumb on the deep fried prawns was crunchy as promised, coated in black sesame seeds for extra flavour. The prawns themselves were big and juicy, and there was more than enough wasabi mayo – with just the right amount of wasabi – to mop up with them. The miso sauce swirled through the mayo was a lovely addition too, adding a touch of umami to the dish.

 

The Ivy Clifton Brasserie - Crunchy Prawns With Wasabi

 

My sister ordered the crispy duck salad (£7.95) and was equally impressed. The duck itself was incredibly tender, with the five spice dressing wonderfully thick and sweet. The sesame seeds and few little jewels of pomegranate scattered over added both texture and flavour, and the salad had a great crunch. The flavour of the promised ginger was hard to pick out, though.

 

The Ivy Clifton Brasserie - Crispy Duck Salad

 

For her main, she chose the slow roasted lamb shoulder (£16.25), served with soft Parmesan polenta, roasted peppers, olives and rosemary sauce. The lamb was lovely and rich and flaked well under the fork, but did have a fair few fatty bits which she left. The polenta was smooth and included a huge amount of Parmesan, while the gravy, served in a separate small jug, was rich and included a decent amount of rosemary.

 

The Ivy Clifton Brasserie - Lamb

 

For me, the line caught grilled swordfish (£15.50), served with a chimichurri sauce. The swordfish was firm and meaty, although not cooked right the way through, and the chimichurri was full of flavour with a small amount of chilli heat, but a touch too oily. I loved that the lemon was served in muslin to catch the pips, and the rocket was the perfect accompaniment for a nice light main course.

 

The Ivy Clifton Brasserie - Swordfish

 

Well, I say light…but we also ordered a side of truffle and Parmesan chips (£4.50). Served, as seems to be the wont now, in a metal bucket, we were pleased to see that the truffle shavings and grated cheese were spread throughout from top to bottom, not just sprinkled on top. The skin-on chips were lovely and crunchy, but could have done with a touch more salt.

 

The Ivy Clifton Brasserie - Truffle and Parmesan Chips

 

Looking at the dessert menu, it was too tempting to pass up. My choice was the lemon meringue Alaska (£7.25)…and a wise choice it was too! I mean, look at it – it’s beautiful! A moist sponge base was topped with a beautiful soft meringue, expertly seared on the outside, which was filled with a delicate lemon-flavoured ice cream. The lemon curd around the outside was the perfect blend of tangy and sweet, while the basil leaves seemed like an odd addition but worked surprisingly well.

 

The Ivy Clifton Brasserie - Lemon Meringue Alaska

 

A combination of chocolate and salted caramel is always a winner, and so my sister ordered the chocolate bombe (£8.50). This dome of chocolate was set at the table before a hot salted caramel sauce was poured over the top, melting the chocolate to reveal a vanilla ice cream and honeycomb centre, complete with chocolate mousse. There’s no denying that it was a rich dessert, the caramel lovely and salty, but the inclusion of the vanilla ice cream and the milk foam tempered the richness just enough.

 

The Ivy Clifton Brasserie - Chocolate Bombe

 

While there were a few negatives to our meal, we were impressed overall – the starters and desserts were certainly the highlights of our meal, with elements of the mains a little hit and miss. Saying that, we both agreed that we’d definitely head back: the combination of quality, service, atmosphere and sensible pricing definitely appeals. Next stop, the afternoon tea, we think…

 

Please note: our meal was received free of charge, but this in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.

 

4 Responses to The Ivy Clifton Brasserie: Review

  1. Sounds like I need a detour next time I travel to Somerset! Thank you Bristop Bites!

  2. Wow, thank you! it looks delicious! 🙂

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