Rarely have I ever seen a new opening set tongues wagging as much as the recent opening of Dublin’s chicest and shiniest new venue on Dawson Street, The Ivy Dublin.
Many will be familiar with The Ivy high end franchise throughout the UK particularly its iconic Soho restaurant dating back to 1917, which is still seen by many at the epitome of glamour and very much the place to be seen.
That said many were dubious how Irish diners would receive the audacious addition to an already over heated dining market. It was muted by many that they would struggle to fill the 200+ seater venue given the amount of new openings we have seen already in 2018.
With what was said to be an unlimited budget, The Ivy Collection finally landed in Dublin with all the fanfare and celebrity endorsement imaginable. For many you may think this may be a less attractive proposition however on the Tuesday (yes Tuesday and we were very fortunate to secure a booking) we dined by 7.30pm the entire venue was fully booked.
There is one thing The Ivy Dublin has in abundance, something that is a seemingly unattainable thing for many good restaurants – atmosphere. It’s infectious, from the minute you walk through the gilded doors you can feel the buzz in the air. Every inch is an Instagram moment, including the ladies bathrooms which at this stage I feel as though I’ve visited at least sixty times through peoples Insta stories.
That said you cannot fault the layout, It is spacious, seating is uber comfortable and every angle wraps around the impressive central bar. At the helm of this machine is Jamie Belton from Dylan McGrath’s group of busy restaurants, no stranger to flipping tables and managing a big staff, Belton it seems has his work cut out for him if the slow service we experienced is anything to go by.
With all new openings you have to allow a little leeway for new staff making mistakes or just being slightly overwhelmed, however expectation in a venue like this is high and rightly so. No doubt with some fine tuning and when the team are fully bedded in this hap hazard service will be a lot more streamlined.
Apart from one of the longest waits for a glass of water imaginable, all other impressions of the Ivy were excellent. Decent provenance on the menu, a good spread of Irish suppliers and a competent Head Chef in Nick Lentini have all the ingredients for making this venue a real contender to be not just a place to be seen but actually for somewhere to enjoy impressive plates.
Pricing is well matched to similar venues in Dublin and a hell of a lot more affordable than its London counter part. A decent wine list with many affordable wines under €40 surprised and most of the wines listed were fairly approachable both to our wallet and our pallet.
We started our evening off with an elegant, smooth, Chateau Mondain Bordeaux (€40). It’s a broad menu with a good bit of reading but we settled on some Scallops (€13.75), beautifully cooked and engulfed in a sea of pea puree with broad beans and crispy shallots.
Across the table sat a St.Tola’s Goats Cheese Salad (€7.50), a beautiful cheese that doesn’t need a huge amount added so good is the flavour profile, simple additions of hazelnuts, endive and olive were more than enough.
Steaks are a big feature at The Ivy, a Fillet (€32.50), medium rare was ordered and arrived cooked to perfection, a great match for our Bordeaux, we enjoyed two gorgeous sides of olive oil mash and creamed spinach with grated Parmesan and both agreed the steak will be a definite favourite and a good contender for Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse across the road.
Our second main was something we are starting to see on quite a few Dublin menus – Blackened Cod Fillet (€19.50), a delicious take on this sometimes bland fish, baked in a banana leaf with citrus-pickled fennel, grilled broccoli and served with a punchy yuzu mayo.
Desserts are where The Ivy really comes into its own, its show stopping Chocolate Bombe (€9.95) is not only a complete food porn food moment visually but also a mouth wateringly delicious moment of pure unadulterated joy.
After fighting off “The Nail Queen’s” attempt to steal most if it I finally got to try some of her sublime Creme Brûlée (€7.95), classic perfection and a wonderful note to leave on.
Its often said first impressions last, however even though we got off to a shaky start for our first visit to The Ivy we were in fact completely won over by the food, the smoothing of the service will come in time but they have all the right ingredients to make The Ivy Dublin just as iconic as its chic Soho counterpart.
Atmosphere, good value, matched with good food in stunning surroundings … yes it appears The Ivy does indeed grow on you.
Dinner for two with a bottle of wine came to €131.15
The Ivy Dublin
13-17 Dawson St,
T: 353 +1 695 0744
Jules Mahon is the Co-Founder and Editor of TheTaste. A WSET qualified wine expert, Jules loves exploring hidden gems and unearthing the best culinary experiences Ireland has to offer in addition to eating her way around the globe.
Championing the Irish Food scene and all of its stars, both at home and abroad is huge passion for her and her team of talented food writers.