Here we are in Spring 2024 as invitees of The Ivy to sample the new spring menu.
Here we are in Spring 2024 as invitees of The Ivy to sample the new spring menu.

When The Ivy burst onto the Birmingham culinary scene four years ago, it brought a feeling of excitement; we’d all read about The Ivy in London and how it had become the go-to for WAGs and celeb’y types since 1917, and we wanted a slice of that action too, Brum style.  And they delivered, with abundance.

Here we are in Spring 2024 as invitees to sample the new spring menu.  We didn’t need to be asked twice.  It feels like a treat from the moment you enter: your name is checked off by the glamorous host – if feels more nightclub than restaurant – and you’re escorted to your table (or the bar) by your Head Waiter.  For us, this was the charming and impeccably dressed, Shezy.  He, like the host, look like something out of the Best Dressed list. 

The sartorial diligence is equally matched by the venue, which looks as resplendent today as it did on launch day.  It feels elevated, designed and expensive – good taste never goes out of style.

It’s a busy Tuesday evening at the restaurant.  There is a casual, unpretentious vibe and we’re sure the man on the table opposite is off the telly, but we can’t recall what or who.

We peruse the spring menu, as we sip our cocktails: for me, a Salted Caramel Espresso Martini (my go to and on par with the legendary ones I make at home) and Jon had a Champagne Mojito, which he said was a ‘game changer.’  Both are from the classics menu (we deviated) and enjoyed with gusto. 

Promising a ‘toast to spring,’ the three-course3 Spring menu is just £27.50 p/p and includes a complimentary glass of red, white or rose wine.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I’m sold already.

But here’s the odd thing: the menu may be a self-professed ‘toast of spring’ yet we’re not seeing spring.  It feels like a ‘best of’ rather than something crafted for the season featuring seasonal produce.  But, that’s a detail we choose to overlook.  Like its namesake, The Ivy is evergreen and needs no seasonal definition.

From the spring menu, Jon opted for the Robata Grilled Chicken Skewers with bang bang peanut sauce, sesame, coconut, lime and coriander.  We have this thing where we always try a mouthful of each other’s dinner, but I was mournful that he didn’t offer on this occasion, as the skewers were too good. 

Other spring starters include Buffalo Mozzarella, or Salt and Pepper Squid Tempura. 

One course down, it’s time for a refresher.  This time off The Ivy Icons menu, which is a menu created by some of The Ivy’s cocktail competition finalists.  Jon opts for a Spring Cobbler, which was created by Joe Wood from The Ivy West Street.  If you’ve a sweet tooth, this might be the one for you but, for us, it felt heavy-handed and so syrupy sweet it made him cough.  I chose the Book and Cover by Josh Williams from The Ivy Asia Brighton.  This time, we did share.

There are four mains to choose from: we forego The Ivy Classic Shepherd’s Pie; Chargrilled Halloumi with Mixed Grains and choose instead the Himalayan salt wall dry-aged  Sirloin Steak with a side of truffle and parmesan chips and the Blackened Cod Fillet baked on a banana leaf with soy marinade, served with citrus-pickled fennel, broccoli, yuzu and herb sauce.  I opted for a side of creamed spinach, pangrattato, toasted pine nuts and grated Parmesan.  Again, I must remind myself that this is a spring menu.  Where is the lamb, the minted potatoes, the spring greens?

We’ll brush over the fact that the steak was not presented as medium well, as requested, as it was ‘absolutely delicious,’ admitted Jon.  My cod was zingy and light, and the soy marinade was delicious.  I’d choose this again.

With one eye on summer, we share The Ivy Chocolate Bombe – ‘one of our signatures,’ says Shezy.  It’s the kind of dessert that you see on Insta: hot caramel sauce seductively drizzled over a chocolate bombe that melts into the vanilla ice cream and honeycomb.  It’s a classic for a reason, kids.

Its spring sidekicks are Classic Frozen Berries with yoghurt sorbet and white chocolate sauce, and the perennial Crème Brulé.

As we ponder our evening over a coffee, we both agree that The Ivy is always a solid choice when dining in Brum.  It feels so much more special than the price point should justify.  Whether from the spring menu, or the classics, every dish is chosen with care so as not to alienate diners, but with just enough twist and flair to excite.  Forget spring, The Ivy is for all seasons. 

The Ivy is at 67-71 Temple Row, Birmingham, B2 5LS.


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