So there was the Ivy, with its art deco interior and its celebs eating shepherd’s pie and chocolate bombs. Enters The Ivy Market Grill, a more laid-back little sibling in the heart of Covent Garden that’s all about approachable dining and drinking. The shepherd’s pie is still here but it comes with a list of well thought-out cocktails and even some bespoke bottles. Go on then, tuck in.
Head bartender Jeremy Evans found inspiration for the list in Covent Garden’s history. Most drinks are fruity and floral, a reminder of the area’s past as a fruit market and an orchard, and are great pre-dinner serves – you won’t leave this place without a trip via the à la carte. Start with a light and sour My Fair Lady, with the restaurant’s bespoke Ivy Gin – a spicy spirit that gives a little depth to the serves it’s used in. The Betty Careless is full of surprises: its smoky nose of Ardberg reveals sweetness and citrus, with warmth from Chivas Regal, and agave combining it all together. With a plate of spiced olives on the side, and followed by a crispy duck salad, we predict a very good evening.
It’s not just the plates that are inviting though: the terrace will call your name on warmer days, and in the winter you’ll want to cosy up inside, surrounded by deep green leather and warm dark wood. Expect to find a mixed crowd – theatre goers, tourists speaking barely a word of English and Ivy loyals broadening their perspectives. And you, no doubt.
Best Bars tip: Make the trip down for an afternoon tea, but swap the regular loose leaf for an Earl of Bedford, with Beefeater gin, crème de bergamote, chamomile liqueur, orange marmalade, and naturally, tea.
– Gaëlle Laforest, @gaellelaforest