Food Review: The Ivy in St Albans
PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:39 14 June 2018
If I had to choose one dish to sum up my experience at The Ivy in St Albans, it would be the fun, indulgent and delicious chocolate bombe.
The melting chocolate ball comes with a vanilla ice cream and honeycomb centre.
Our cheerful waiter Poalo Santos poured over the salted hot caramel sauce to leave a hot and cold medley of sweet flavours.
It was a delight, although not something you would order if you were attending slimming classes.
On the Wednesday evening when I visited The Ivy with my partner, it was very busy - perhaps the busiest place in town.
Everyone seemed excited to be trying out the latest, colourful addition to the restaurant scene.
One woman with her girlfriends, seated near us, was telling them all in a loud voice how everything on the menu was ‘amazing’.
My partner and I spent quite some time deliberating over what to order.
We started with some truffle arancini - fried arborio rice balls with truffle and parmesan, priced at £5.50.
Arancini is the Italian word for little oranges and these balls are aptly named due to their traditional orange appearance thanks to a coating of breadcrumbs.
Slightly smaller than ping-pong balls, these nibbles sat proudly on a white cushion in a silver cup.
They were crispy on the outside and soft and hot inside.
The rich truffle made for a lavish treat and I would definitely recommend them; they were some of the best arancini I have tried.
My starter was the crispy duck salad with five spice dressing, toasted cashews, watermelon, beansprouts, coriander and ginger.
Although enjoyable, I would have preferred a little less dressing so that it wasn’t quite such a wet dish.
My partner’s Atlantic sea scallops came with pea puree with broad beans, lemon zest , sea cress and crispy shallots.
We both said how nice they were; perfectly soft with a slightly crisp exterior and a wonderful delicate flavour.
Picking a main proved very difficult.
Both of a us love a good steak, but it seemed wrong to order the same thing.
Given that he had endured a nightmare train journey out of London (thank you Thameslink), I let him have first choice.
Out from the kitchen came a glistening 12oz Rib-eye (£27.95), which was divine.
I must admit I did have a little food envy even though my slow roasted lamb shoulder (£16.95) was melt-in-the-mouth.
The lamb came with a mustard and herb crust, creamed potato, garlic, spring vegetables and a rosemary sauce.
It was quite a filling dish and so I opted for a smaller pud - mini chocolate truffles with a liquid salted caramel centre (£3.50).
My partner had already heard about the chocolate bombe (£8.50) so was intrigued to try it.
We weren’t disappointed and I was more than happy to help out.
I would certainly recommend visiting the new, and very popular, Ivy in St Albans for an upmarket, yet fun dining experience in colourful surroundings.
For a special occasion there is also a private dining room adjoining the main restaurant.