Review: The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

Image credit: Moni Zolczer

A wonderful ambience sets the tone for my weekend brunch. The furnishings are truly exquisite; luxurious cushioned booths span the restaurant, a shimmering drinks bar sits on one side, the walls are adorned with colourful vintage prints and artworks, many of which are inspired by Cambridge university’s academic heritage and punting and rowing traditions. It is this attention to detail that distinguishes the restaurant from other Ivy branches.

From the extensive menu (although quite limited for vegetarians and vegans), I ordered the Mozzarella di bufala. The mozzarella, accompanied by asparagus, pine nuts, edamame beans and a flavoursome pesto, was a perfect starter: light but rich in flavour. The pesto and roasted pine nuts are an ideal accompaniment to the soft creamy cheese, in both taste and texture. Next up were the hot buttermilk pancakes, beautifully layered with Greek yoghurt and drizzled in strawberry sauce. They were sensational: the pancakes were light and fluffy and the strawberry sauce was warm, fruity and not overly sweet (personally, I could have done with less Greek yoghurt filling and more of the strawberry sauce!). To drink, I ordered the English Spritz cocktail which was very refreshing, the bitterness of the grapefruit was balanced by the soda, with an added kick from the Kamm & Sons aperitif, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao and prosecco.

The staff were consistently attentive without being intrusive. Every waiter and host was polite, helpful with food and drink recommendations and courteous when moving round the restaurant. They were wonderful in making us feel welcome and in no way inferior or out-of-place as students. It was pleasing to see that the table was correctly laid out at all times – this can be a pet peeve of mine. The bussers removed our wine glasses when we ordered cocktails and the hosts arranged the correct cutlery before our food arrived. The only criticism here would be that the cocktails took a surprisingly long time to arrive, as did the food at each course.

In short, The Ivy is an all-round winner for a study-break with friends over lunch, a romantic date in the evening, or a catch-up with the family over afternoon tea. 

9/10

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