When my aunt emailed to tell me she would be visiting from San Francisco I immediately knew that the Ivy Chelsea was the right place to take her for brunch. She cares about people watching and a great ambiance more than she cares for the food, and The Ivy Chelsea fits her requirements perfectly.
We had been there once before for a very late lunch/early dinner at 4pm on a Sunday with our friend Jeff, and due to the oddity of the time it was not as buzzy and lively as our 1pm brunch. We were lucky and they gave us a table in their garden. The inside tables are nice but the outside ones are what makes the place special.
We hung out and people watched and then finally decide to read the very long menu, which includes a mix of classic brunch as well as some lunch dishes.
What we ate:
Eggs Royale: they have all Benedict varietals and I went for the salmon version. The eggs were perfectly cooked but the salmon was a bit thick and somewhat stringy. The muffins were albino and porous and should have been crispy instead. Sadly I can’t comment on the hollandaise as I ordered it without any.
Eggs Benedict: my aunt went for the classic (also no hollandaise) and the ham looked sad and from the fact that she left one of the two on the plate, she must not have been blown away.
Truffled chicken sandwich: warm truffle flavoured chicken on toasted brioche with a green herb salad on the side. This was really bread and chicken and no cheese, tomatoes or anything else and was boring and dry. I gave Stewart half of one of my poached eggs to make it more appealing. And waffle crisps? Seems a little stuck in the 80s.
Chicken Milanese: brioche crumbed chicken Milanese with fried hen’s egg and black truffle was by far the best dish we had. The chicken was tender and piping hot and nicely juicy but well breaded creating some corners of crispy coating. The egg was unnecessary and a bit overly fried as the salad was tossed in a delicious creamy dressing that paired perfectly with the chicken.
We skipped the very tempting chocolate bombe with milk foam, vanilla ice cream and honeycomb centre with hot salted caramel sauce, but had this the previous time we were there and it’s a fun dessert. They pour the salted caramel on top which makes the bomb melt, unveiling the ice cream.
In sum: fun people watching but not the most exceptional food. The service is ok, nothing spetacular but efficient. The odd thing is if one orders rose, they serve you from a magnum bottle that is very impressive but it seems like they refill the big bottle which is a bit odd….
The Ivy Chelsea Garden http://theivychelseagarden.com/
197 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 5EQ
+4420 3301 0300