Restaurant review: Christmas at The Ivy in St Albans

Cocktails Thyme for Apple Pie and Little Helper.

Cocktails Thyme for Apple Pie and Little Helper. - Credit: Hillary Childs

Christmas comes alive at The Ivy Brasserie in St Albans, with the colourful decor and warm atmosphere lending itself perfectly to the most magical time of the year; the sort of place you can squirrel yourself away for a winter's evening and indulge in a smorgasbord of fine food and drink.

My partner and I made a return visit to the restaurant in the company of our two-year-old daughter, whose standards are probably higher than most as not only does she demand to be fed exactly what she likes, she also wants to be entertained throughout the meal, something our server discovered pretty quickly!

The festive menu starts with an array of delicious cocktails, and we could not resist Thyme for Apple Pie, a warming blend of Chivas Mizunara Cask Scotch Whisky blended with lemon and cinnamon and finished with apple cider, and the showstopping Little Helper, a refreshing combination of Monkey 47 Black Forest Gin, cranberry, passion fruit, and lime topped with Prosecco and finished with a cloud of festive candy floss.

Lobster linguine.

Lobster linguine. - Credit: Hillary Childs

The candy floss was a perfect way of keeping the little one pleased while she was waiting for her fish and chips, and both cocktails were of The Ivy's usual exceptional quality, making a perfect beginning to our night.

The a la carte menu includes some special Christmas dishes, including duck liver parfait, a lobster and prawn cocktail, confit goose shepherd's pie and wild mushroom and truffle linguine, but we were tempted by some of the other seasonal dishes instead.

I had a rich and flavoursome tomato soup for starter (the roast pumpkin and butternut squash option had run out), and the near legendary Ivy truffle hamburger for my main, while my partner selected salt and pepper squid followed by lobster linguine. Nothing disappointed, delivering on both flavour and presentation, and plates were duly emptied without hesitation.

Salt and pepper squid.

Salt and pepper squid. - Credit: Hillary Childs

We finished with a shared dessert from the festive specials. Snowball Fight is brandy ice cream in a white chocolate shell, accompanied by a gingerbread and cream sauce. It looks just like a snowball has landed in your plate, and while it tasted amazing, it was also much lighter than expected, worth noting if you've already had two courses.

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Oh for those nights out which didn't involve a waitress making a diving save to catch the two-year-old after she threw herself from her chair! Of the many things The Ivy can be proud of, it's the exceptional customer service, and our server was no exception, so thank you Holly for your valiant efforts, including the entertaining and life-saving of our daughter.