The Ivy Bath Brasserie
Super relaxed all-day dining with a large helping of Art Deco glamour in the middle of Bath – you may want to stay all day
Been a while since you had your usual table for two at famous Art Deco celebrity haunt The Ivy in London’s West End? Yeah, me too. No need to fret, The Ivy’s come to the West Country, with branches in Bristol and now in Bath. The Ivy Bath Brasserie turns out to be much like the Mother Ship….
Slap bang in the heart of the top (posh) end of Milsom Street, Bath’s main shopping drag. Most convenient for a long and lazy stop off pre- or post-retail therapy. But if you’re in town doing the sights, it’s handily just minutes away from the Roman Baths, The Assembly Rooms and Bath Abbey. Housed in a Georgian building (what else – we’re in Bath) in what was once the NatWest bank, so expect high ceilings and lots of original features.
Buzzy, lively, French – look, there are waiters wearing long white aprons. But what’s that man doing in my Margarita?
Sit in club chairs at cosy little tables at the front…
…alongside or perched up at the splendiferous, mirrored, ivy be-decked bar…
…or at the back where the world’s longest banquette runs around around the room (quick, catch it if you can). Gold-framed posters, prints and mirrors cover almost every wall, all the way up to the high ceilings, giving a deco-ish, glam but relaxed feel.
Tucked away up on the second floor and just opened, The Baldwin Room’s the place to go for a private do.
Choose from the vast menu’s brasserie/Modern British standards – like steaks, Ivy hamburger and their famous shepherd’s pie (with a nod to the South West with Wookey Hole cheddar) – to the more exotic blackened cod fillet in a banana leaf and a whole lobster (next time, next time).
I started with the ever-so-crispy duck salad with a delish five spice dressing – a bit like the Peking crispy duck that you get in Chinese restaurants – but with toasted cashews, fresh sweet watermelon, beansprouts, coriander and ginger.
Also on the menu – giant tempura prawns, served up with pickled mouli, cucumber, edamame beans, matcha tea sauce and a wedge of lime.
For mains, a chargilled swordfish sitting on top of big beads of couscous, tomatoes and roasted red pepper sauce. I know size isn’t everything but…
Here’s the slow roasted lamb shoulder with a mustard and herb crust, mashed spuds, served with broccoli and pine nuts. Neat little copper pan.
I’m going in…
Our other dessert, frozen mixed berries with a yoghurt sorbet, awaits its warm white chocolate sauce.
Extensive wine list. After much humming and haaing over the £230 bottle of Pol Roger Cuvee Winston Churchill champagne, we decided on the very good house red.
Why not? Just in the same way as French restaurants are welcoming to kids, it feels the same way here. But probably not propped up at the bar. Lots of options on the menu for the less adventurous. But it’s quite nice without them too, eh?
OUT AND ABOUT
You’ve got the whole of Bath at your feet.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: A girlie lunch on the town (don’t feel bad if you’ve got shopping bags), pre-theatre supper, big family brunch in a laid back, stylish place with a bit of frisson.
Not for: Anyone wanting hushed formal dining.
The damage: Reasonable. On the a la carte, starters £5.50–£11.95. Mains £12.75 – £34 (that lobster). Desserts from £3.50–£9.95. Very good value set menu Mon to Fri, 11.30am–6.30pm, 2 courses £16.50; 3 courses £21. Wine from just under £20 right up to that £230 bottle of Pol Roger champers – pop that cork right now!
Open 7 days a week for pretty much anything you care to eat or drink: breakfast, elevensies, weekend brunch, snacks, lunch, afternoon tea, cocktails, dinner…
The Ivy Bath Brasserie, 39 Milsom St, Bath BA1 1DN. Tel. 01225 307100. theivybathbrasserie.com