London-founded restaurant brand, The Ivy, where many celebs are spotted, has now opened in Glasgow.
Located on the ‘Style Mile’, on Buchanan Street, The Ivy has a perfectly-positioned location, ready to capture shoppers and those who choose not to pay ridiculous city centre parking charges, and use the subway.
I took my Mum there for Sunday lunch and she was very excited. So was I. Was this hyped-up launch all it was played to be or has The Ivy turned into a chain of restaurants and lost its class and finesse?
I absolutely loved the decor. The colours and patterns and styling was absolutely perfect. The menus tied in and it all looked like a more mature version of The Ivy in London, which I’ve hosted events at. The toilets are apparently hugely instagrammable. I of course had to visit and whilst they were spacious and nicely designed, I didn’t see what the fuss was about?
Our welcome was lovely. The host greeted us with a big smile and I loved their uniforms. My Mum chose a table downstairs and she had a good view of the whole restaurant (she’d like that!).
The service was ok. The server (a male) lacked personality. He also made a comment when I ordered the steak tartare that ‘he’s just never been able to bring himself to eat raw beef’ – which was totally uncalled for. I was excited for it and didn’t care for his opinion.
I think they could have been better at upsetting side orders and drinks. We would have ordered more, I think.
Now, I know I’m getting older, but I had to call over the manager and ask him to turn the music down. It was so loud and totally not what a chilled Sunday should be about. He made some excuse about the DJ taking over or something but to be honest, if I can’t speak to whomever I’m dining with, what’s the point?! So the manager turned the music down and it was instantly better – even the woman next to me thanked me as she couldn’t hear herself think. Sadly, five minutes later, the music was back up and booming. It was very off putting.
My Mum had the arancini to start and then the lobster Mac and cheese. She loved both of her meals.
I had the starter size steak tartare, followed by the chicken Milanese. We had a side order of truffle and parmesan fries.
My steak tartare was perfect and I was even given tabasco and Worcestershire sauce to add myself. It was served with toast which was a bit different. A lot of people are freaked out by the raw egg yolk but honestly, once it’s mixed in with the meat and capers and cornichons, you don’t taste or notice it. It just makes everything a bit more silky. You should at least try it once!
My chicken milanese was delicious. It was thin and crispy pan-fried, the capers and parmesan and tomatoes were all just lovely. The muslin over the lemon was lovely to have! The parmesan fries were a bit of a let down. The parmesan and truffle is like a crumb and it wasn’t evenly distributed across the chips which meant some chips were ‘naked’. Also, some of the chips weren’t great and overall, they were just warm rather than hot.
Afternoon tea and brunches are served, so maybe I’ll check out the brunch next, although you’ll need to book 6-8 weeks in advance… (see below)
It’s not an overly priced menu but as you can imagine, it’s city centre prices with a wee bit extra because of the brand.
Booking for my birthday
It’s my birthday in a few weeks, so when I was leaving The Ivy, I tried to book a table for my birthday with my family. I was asked to wait at the side as only X could do this. Bit strange, but ok. I then waited for over five minutes, to be completely ignored and as people came flooding in and people queued to wait for jackets, there was no hope to get the booking made. I wanted a specific table so I couldn’t do it online. So, I called the 0141 number to book, only to be told, that five weeks in advance, the first available table on that Sunday was 7.15pm! No thanks, I wanted lunch. Also, how are they supposed to build relationships with specific customers if you can’t phone the restaurant directly? Centralised booking numbers don’t offer 1-2-1 relationship building between the management and customers.
(Also, when we were having lunch, not even half the restaurant was used downstairs and upstairs was quiet.)
So I’ll be booking somewhere else for my birthday lunch!
I’d definitely go back to The Ivy but I think they need to remember where they are. Glaswegians have a completely different culture for eating out than any of their other restaurant locations and we like to be looked after. There’s definite room for improvement.