“You went to The Ivy?!”
“The Ivy Cafe, mother. It’s part of the same group but it isn’t the institution itself.”
“My daughter went to The Ivy. I am so proud.”
I take any pride I can get.
Henrik, the only even pseudo friend that I have made from work thus far, took me for my birthday. We went to Scarfes Bar on Holborn for overpriced drinks and endless refills of nibbles to start, then we got a slow taxi across London (all transport except cycling and the tube is slow) which made the number of days in which my vow to never use a taxi again total two. He kept our location a secret. The Ivy Cafe was a nice surprise, although I had expected steak.
There may be a new brand of waiting in higher-class establishments which I was previously unaware of. Here, the waitress would only come over to us if we beckoned her. Usually I would like this kind of standoffishness, but after years of being badgered by waiters, having to call them over feels like an imposition all around.
Duck salad to start for me, and chicken liver parfait for Henrik. He gave me a slice of the chicken liver parfait. I will one day get gout. The salad has changed my opinions on salads for the better. Flavours of France and the orient to start. Crisp and rich, like our wallets.
Henrik went for the lobster risotto, which I would have gone for were I not to my have my rule about not ordering the same as my dining mate. I went for the market fresh fish of the day (sea trout. “I’ve never had sea trout” “well, in the next half hour you will never be able to say that again factually” “but I’m ordering the risotto?” “meals are for sharing”) with chips. Italian and British. I spent a long time considering the menu, stretched longer as the waitress lingered in the background rather than taking charge and our orders. Each dish is a testament to The Ivy’s reputation. Classic dishes done exceedingly well.
The creme brulee had a satisfying crack, all the more so as the sugar was quite thin. The chocolate bomb came as a spectacle. It was tasty, which many spectacles are not.
I like to drink in hotel bars and go to restaurants with history. This felt like an airy bistro of yore. Very Marylebone. I do not belong yet I am won over.