The Ivy Cheltenham? What’s That About?
(Since this original blog entry, The Ivy Brasserie is now open and our review is here.)
The Ivy Cheltenham? In case that sounds surreal, we take a look at The Ivy, why it’s going to join the Cheltenham Restaurants scene and what we can expect.
You have to keep up to speed in the fast moving world of Cheltenham restaurant reviews. It looks as if The Ivy Cheltenham will actually be a thing. Cheltenham Borough Council has received a licensing application from Troia Restaurants. Director is Richard Caring, a heavyweight in the hospitality industry, chum of ‘Sir’ Philip Green (of BHS Pension Fund fame) and the main man behind the Ivy Collection, which includes restaurants – or brands – such as Le Caprice, The Ivy, Scott’s, J. Sheeky and various other London success stories.
The location in question is the Rotunda building in Montpellier, already a busy area for Cheltenham restaurants – ground zero for Cheltenham Restaurant Reviews.
The Ivy – and Le Caprice, especially, built their reputation on good food, service and a high celeb count. But this is, obviously, no relocation to Cheltenham and what we will actually be getting is a new outpost of a format called The Ivy Grills and Brasseries. The celeb count here will have to draw from the slightly more limited gene-pool of locals such as Dom Joly and, er, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.
The brand has already opened a couple of restaurants in the Home Counties and Bristol, with openings forthcoming in Bath, Edinburgh and Exeter. Assuming that they follow the formula, the Cheltenham restaurant will be called The Ivy Cheltenham Brasserie (or, conceivably, The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie) and will be open breakfast ’til late, seven days a week.
The original Ivy style was to keep some tables unreserved at a dining bar, plus bookable tables which I’d guess will be followed in the Cheltenham operation.
In terms of the menu – this is not a pretentious fine dining establishment, despite the aura surrounding its name. The original restaurant actually built its reputation on good service and no-nonsense classics, famously its Shepherd’s Pie. That seems to be the formula for the new Brasseries, which list soups, gravlax and bang bang chicken as starters and risotto, roast pollock or chicken breast as mains in its midweek lunch set menu (£21 for three courses). Things get a bit more pricy a la carte for dinner, of course with Shepherd’s Pie £13.50 through to fillet steaks pushing £30 quid, plus sides. That’s assuming, as seems likely, Ivy Cheltenham offers a similar menu. By the way, if £13.50 for Shepherd’s Pie seems steep to you, it could be worse – The Ivy in London charges £19.50, plus a £2 cover charge although to be fair, you’re paying for more than just a Shepherd’s Pie. At least it’s more affordable to be in the Cheltenham restaurant reviews business.
The Ivy Grills and Brasseries tend to look great inside – banquette seating, skilful lighting and smartly turned out staff. We can expect the same at this addition to the list of Cheltenham restaurants. And work starts this summer, so we could see them open by the Autumn.