The Ivy Bath Brasserie
Home to one of the most impressive and decorative plaster ceilings in Bath, the old NatWest branch on Milsom Street was transformed last year into a highly desirable destination restaurant. Hotly anticipated since its application was granted by Bath and North East Somerset Council, The Ivy Bath Brasserie has certainly been the talk of the town since its grand opening last October. This Grade II* listed building was constructed by English surveyor and architect, Thomas Baldwin, between 1781-1783. Rich in history and now oozing glitz and glamour at every turn, The Ivy Bath Brasserie is one of the latest ventures in the group behind The Ivy Collection in London. Famed for being a celebrity hotspot; the likes of Elton John, the Beckham's and even Julia Roberts have graced The Ivy in Covent Garden.
The sumptuous setting, first-class service, plush, sophisticated, yet relaxed, and unstuffy ambience are complemented by contemporary British dishes.
I was very kindly invited to lunch last Saturday to review the restaurant's mouth-watering menu. Having stepped inside the former banking hall on a number of occasions before, Scott and I knew we would be in for another tasty treat. Two Bathonian's were excited to make their way over to Milsom Street in order to rediscover the delicious delights that await at The Ivy Bath Brasserie...
The way all lunch banquets should begin? With a 'pop' and a 'clink' of course! Scott enjoyed a glass of 'The Ivy Collection Champagne, Montoy' (£9.75), whilst I opted for something pink and pretty - the aptly named 'Milsom Street Royale' (£10.25).
Perfectly chilled and fabulously fizzy, we toasted the start of the weekend before tucking into our appetiser of 'Truffle Arancini' (£5.50). Any dish with the words 'truffle' in the title and I am sold! Our friendly and attentive waiter, Francis (also known as Frank), recommended we try the fried Arborio rice balls with truffle and Parmesan. As you can see, we didn't need to be asked twice!
They were irresistibly good and still piping hot from the oven. A great nibble to enjoy with our aperitifs...
Now for a zingy 'Prawn Cocktail' (£9.75).
Plump juicy prawns, cherry tomatoes and creamy avocado all coated in a spicy Marie Rose sauce, encased in baby gem lettuce leaves. With a splash of fresh lemon juice, it was time to get stuck in!
Meanwhile, opposite me, Scott tried the 'Crispy Duck Salad' (£7.95). The warm crispy duck with five spice dressing was carefully piled high with toasted cashews, watermelon, beansprouts, coriander and ginger. The flavour and texture combinations were exciting; a bite of sweet watermelon alongside crispy duck, the taste of spicy ginger with the crunch of a cashew nut - yum!
After our starters, (in hindsight, I could easily have ordered mine as a main, as it was larger than I expected) we moved onto our second course and a glass of 'Malbec, Catena, Vista Flores' (£9.50)
Sold on 'The Special of the Day', our waiter's description of my 'Game Pie' sounded too tempting not to sample!
A dainty pie (thankfully it wasn't too big!) gorgeously golden on the outside and filled with succulent venison, wild boar, rabbit, pigeon and pheasant, was served with a silky, buttery whipped mash, glazed carrots, and a red wine sauce with cream and truffle.
Feeling food envy from across the table - 'Roast Half Chicken (off the bone) Crispy skin with Gremolata, Rosemary Jus and Watercress' (£14.95) I was eager to try a bite of Scott's main too!
Especially his side of 'Truffle and Parmesan Chips' (£4.50).
Mmm, truffle chips... I'd eat them every day of the week if I could!
Quick! How about something sweet before we order another side of chips?!
On Frank's recommendation, my meal concluded with an 'Apple Tart Fine' (£7.95). Something of a showstopper! Arriving to the table, the baked apple tart and vanilla ice cream was flambéd with a Somerset cider brandy.
A sweet ending to a wonderful meal.
I think Scott would agree too! I've spotted The Ivy's popular 'Chocolate Bombe' (£8.50) on my Instagram newsfeed before, so when Scott ordered it for his dessert, I just had to tuck in with my spoon! In fact, as we often do, we swapped halfway through our desserts to enjoy sampling both.
Here we have a melting chocolate bombe with a honeycomb centre and vanilla ice cream. Just before you dive right in, a hot salted caramel sauce is poured over the top, melting the bombe and creating a river of molten chocolate.
Need I say more?
If you haven't visited The Ivy Bath Brasserie yet, put it on the top of your list. This two storey restaurant (the upper two floors of the building are dedicated to a staff room and a currently unused kitchen) can seat ~130 for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, light bites, dinner and weekend brunch.
Moreover, later this year, the restaurant will open a large outdoor terrace and a private dining room on the second floor, taking the current occupancy up to a maximum of ~260. We were invited upstairs to take a sneak peek and, without spoiling the surprise, I'm sure the beautiful terrace will become incredibly popular with Bathonian's, and visitors to the city, looking for al fresco dining this Spring/Summer...
Huge thanks to The Ivy Bath Brasserie's General Manager, Russell, our waiter - Frank, and the dedicated team for making us feel so welcome. Oh, and just as importantly, for feeding us such a fabulous feast! Thank you also to Kate Authers for reaching out to me and offering an invitation to review the restaurant.
For more information and booking details, please visit their website here.