Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

[Review] The Ivy, Dawson Street, Dublin 2

Remember the hype of swapping Panini football cards or Pokemon cards? You wanted to see what everyone else had, jealous of your friend's stash or gloating over your good fortune. Right now, the Irish food critics are in a foamy frenzy, the likes of which we haven't seen since the great swops of Italia 90. 

What's causing all this noise I hear you say? What is causing food critics to trade photos and experiences, eager to read the next review and revel in the next salacious salty comment? Perhaps the question is more zen. Are you even a food critic if you haven't written a review of The Ivy?
The rather stunning interior, courtesy of @theivydublin
It took me a a good few weeks to get my backside into the Ivy. So like many other diners, I got my first waves of intel from the early critics. Positive reviews started to fade into OK, with the mother of all reviews dropping from Totally Dublin, dripping more acid than the eponymous Alien.

So what can I say that hasn't already been said? Let me first state unequivocally that I love the interior. I'm not going to apologise for the magpie part of me that loved the bright colours, the miles of brass and mirrors, the flooring and the velvet chairs. It's completely OTT, more than a bit bonkers, and it made me happy.  

As I looked more closely at my fellow diners, I realised that a lot of the ladies were sporting makeup and clothes gaudy enough to match the interior. It takes a lot to outshine the Ivy but some people were bravely determined. At the table across from us, a young-ish woman was oscillating between pouting, squirming on her seat, duck-facing and occasionally picking at her food. I was beginning to sense a theme. 
Steak tartare with Dubliner whiskey
Pea, ricotta and mint soup
The menu is quite traditional, with dishes receiving just enough of a twist to make them feel modern. An OK steak tartare with Dublin whiskey comes blanketed beneath a layer of parsley, served with Tabasco and thin toast in a silver toast stand (€11.25). Pea soup manifests as a chunky pea puree that drops slowly rather than pours from the serving jug into the bowl (€6.95). Texture aside, the flavours are good, fresh and green. 

Duck-face, pouty girl continues to do what she does best.

Flat-iron chicken comes spread out on the retro oval plate beloved at the Ivy. It is flattened in the pan until the skin iss crispy and the meat slightly overcooked, served with a tasty gravy (€18.95). For what it essentially chicken and gravy, it's nothing wonderful. Across the table, a dish of steak, egg and chips reveals a thin piece of rump steak that has received some artistic grill marks in an effort to jazz it up (€16.95). Despite the jazziness, the steak looks tired, just like my jaws after a few mouthfuls of this overcooked, mealy steak. Good marks for the chips and the BĂ©arnaise sauce though.

At this stage, duck-face, pouty girl's dining companion appears to have flounced off. Couldn't really blame her, it's exhausting just watching.
Steak, egg and chips
The high point (yes there is a high point) of this rather dull meal is the dessert of rum baba. It comes with a little jug of rum, ready for anointing this little classic cake. It's excellent. The cake is light and fluffy, the raspberries tangy and sweet and the rum... well the rum is boozy.  On my side of the table, I had decided the only way forward was a liquid diet, and I was enjoying a fairly decent salted caramel espresso martini (€9.00). 

Looking across the way, I can see that duck-face and her gang have left, only to be replaced with a similar trio of ladies, only all approximately 10 years older. Some things never change. At least there was less duck-face.
Rum baba with rum shot
Salted caramel espresso martini
Service was good throughout, and nothing was delivered too fast or too slow.

Ultimately, The Ivy is a place to go and to be seen. The food is merely incidental to the entire showboating affair and therefore, it's weirdly rather harsh to judge The Ivy on the basis of food. Stick to a liquid diet, and bonus marks if you can duck-face.

The Ivy, 13-17 Dawson Street, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)1 695 0744
URL: www.theivydublin.com
Instagram: @theivydublin
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