Restaurant Review: Summer at The Ivy in St Albans

Peruvian chicken.

Peruvian chicken. - Credit: Matt Adams

Summertime, and the dining is easy...

The weather has finally taken a turn for the better, coronavirus restrictions are easing, and it's the perfect opportunity to revisit some old favourites in the world of hospitality.

In contrast to the nervousness we might have experienced following the end of the first lockdown, we're all much more relaxed about the need to wear facemasks and have our temperatures checked at the door.

As has almost become tradition, we start off our evening with a couple of cocktails: a signature Kir Royale (Plymouth Gin infused with hibiscus and rosewater, sloe juice and Cocchi Rosa Vermouth topped with The Ivy Collection Champagne), and a Hemingway Daiquiri (Havana Club three-year-old rum, maraschino liqueur, fresh pink grapefruit juice, lime and grapefruit zest).

Kir Royale and Hemingway Daiquiri.

Kir Royale and Hemingway Daiquiri. - Credit: Hillary Childs

For starters, we opt for tempura prawns with salt and pepper squid in a wasabi miso sauce, and crispy duck salad served with five spice dressing, toasted cashews, watermelon, beansprouts, sesame seeds, coriander and ginger.

Tempura prawns with salt and pepper squid.

Tempura prawns with salt and pepper squid. - Credit: Hillary Childs

The near-continental heat of the early evening lends itself to lighter, more refreshing dishes, and these delivered the goods admirably.

Crispy duck salad.

Crispy duck salad. - Credit: Matt Adams

Moving on to our mains, and my partner selected the sole meuniére, a whole lemon sole in beurre noisette, served with lemon, caper and parsley, with a side dish of broccoli, while I had glazed roast chicked cooked with Peruvian spices, accompanied by an avocado salad and jalapeño sauce.

Sole meuniére.

Sole meuniére. - Credit: Hillary Childs

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Perhaps we were ambitious in ordering the zucchini fritti alongside, but they are just so good!

After two impressive courses, we would have been pushing it to fit in a dessert, although I was sorely tempted by the frozen berries in white chocolate sauce.

Other new seasonal dishes available on the menu include pea velouté, with lemon and thyme ricotta, crushed peas and black pepper, the delectable côte de boeuf, and a strawberry ice cream sundae dessert, featuring vanilla ice cream with meringue, shortbread and a warm strawberry sauce.

It's the perfect beginning to what should hopefully be a much better summer than last year!