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Review: The Ivy in Cambridge is offering a limited edition ‘1917 set menu’





The Ivy in Cambridge, in celebration of the year of the original restaurant’s launch, is offering a set menu, priced at £19.17 for two courses, until 9 February.

In 1917, Abel Giandellini opened a small restaurant in the heart of London’s theatreland. The eatery was an instant hit, drawing in socialites, celebrities, and the crème de la crème of society. The Cambridge branch launched in 2018.

The Ivy original shepherd's pie with slow-braised lamb and beef with cheddar mash, rosemary and red wine sauce. Picture: Adrian Peel
The Ivy original shepherd's pie with slow-braised lamb and beef with cheddar mash, rosemary and red wine sauce. Picture: Adrian Peel

I have been lucky enough to dine at The Ivy on a number of occasions so jumped at the chance to sample this new menu.

While at first glance, the menu didn’t seem to offer too much of what I like (I’m quite a fussy eater and for a mushroom-hater like me, the menu at first appeared a little too ‘mushroom heavy’), on closer inspection I noticed some really quite appetising dishes.

The 'Cecil Beaton Spritz' and the 'Marlene Dietrich's Glitz'. Picture: Maria Escobedo
The 'Cecil Beaton Spritz' and the 'Marlene Dietrich's Glitz'. Picture: Maria Escobedo

There are three choices of cocktail, inspired by individuals from the roaring 20s. I went for the ‘Cecil Beaton Spritz’, which contains St Germain Elderflower Liqueur, citric blend and cidre brut, topped with soda water.

It was tasty, but I think I liked the one my wife had – the ‘Marlene Dietrich’s Glitz – even more. That one is made up of St Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Bombay Sapphire Premier Cru Gin, citric blend, pear syrup, aromatic bitters, peeled cucumber and mint leaves, topped with Prosecco.

Wild mushroom soup with plant-based mascarpone, sourdough bread croutons and red amaranth. Picture: Maria Escobedo
Wild mushroom soup with plant-based mascarpone, sourdough bread croutons and red amaranth. Picture: Maria Escobedo
The hot smoked salmon rillette with dark seeded pumpernickel-style bread, crushed avocado, basil pesto and fresh herb salad. Picture: Adrian Peel
The hot smoked salmon rillette with dark seeded pumpernickel-style bread, crushed avocado, basil pesto and fresh herb salad. Picture: Adrian Peel

We had some (very nice) truffle arancini rice balls for the table before moving on to our starters. Out of the three starters, I chose the hot smoked salmon rillette with dark seeded pumpernickel-style bread, crushed avocado, basil pesto and fresh herb salad – and I knew immediately that I’d made the right choice, the flavours combining quite beautifully for a very fulfilling eating experience.

My wife had the wild mushroom soup with plant-based mascarpone, sourdough bread croutons and red amaranth. She loved it, but needless to say I didn’t ask to try it!

Grilled thinly beaten beef steak with wild mushroom sauce, truffle, Parmesan chips and watercress. Picture: Maria Escobedo
Grilled thinly beaten beef steak with wild mushroom sauce, truffle, Parmesan chips and watercress. Picture: Maria Escobedo
Creamed spinach, pangrattato toasted pine nuts and grated Parmesan. Picture: Adrian Peel
Creamed spinach, pangrattato toasted pine nuts and grated Parmesan. Picture: Adrian Peel

When it came to the main course, there were two out of the four that caught my eye: the shepherd’s pie, which appealingly uses both lamb and beef, and the grilled thinly beaten beef steak with wild mushroom sauce and truffle and Parmesan chips.

It was the mention of mushroom again that steered me towards choosing the shepherd’s pie – but I needn’t have worried as my wife had the beef and the mushroom sauce came in a separate jug.

I certainly didn’t regret having the shepherd’s pie, though – both for the above reason and for the fact that it came coated with a delicious rosemary and red wine sauce.

Talking of delicious, my wife let me sample some of her chips and the truffle and Parmesan coating – made, I learned, using truffle shavings and truffle oil – was simply divine.

We also shared a side of creamed spinach, pangrattato toasted pine nuts and grated Parmesan, which was good, but not as good as the aforementioned chips.

Sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel sauce, dates, clotted cream and gold flakes. Picture: Maria Escobedo
Sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel sauce, dates, clotted cream and gold flakes. Picture: Maria Escobedo
Classic frozen berries with yoghurt sorbet and white chocolate sauce. Picture: Adrian Peel
Classic frozen berries with yoghurt sorbet and white chocolate sauce. Picture: Adrian Peel

There are three options to choose from as far as pudding is concerned, and the classic frozen berries with yoghurt sorbet, with white chocolate sauce (which I had) comes with a ritual of sorts – the almost ceremonial pouring of the white chocolate sauce over the berries, as fellow diners look on (seeing it at a nearby table was mainly what convinced me to have it).

My wife had the sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel sauce, dates, clotted cream and gold flakes. She very much enjoyed it but struggled to finish it (the portions at The Ivy are quite generous) so I was more than happy to help out.

The 1917 set menu, which offers good quality food at a reasonable price – and also includes vegetarian and vegan options – is available from now until Friday, 9 February, from 11.30am until close.

To book a table, visit ivycollection.com/book-a-table/.



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