Review of 'The Ivy Market Grill'

The Ivy now has a number of restaurants around London all of which appear to have equally good quality if a trifle busier ambience than the original. “The Ivy Market Grill” is located on the southern edge of Covent Garden on the corner of Southampton and Henrietta streets. There is seating outside on the pavement looking across to Covent Garden itself but it is probably not a great idea to sit here for the views as there is always a procession of traffic along Henrietta (mostly taxis). We have been here several times and have not yet been disappointed.

Inside, the dark interior is decorated with historical pictures from the area. The tables are quite close together and with all the hard furnishings it gets quite noisy when busy. On our recent visit we were put near to the back corner which was a bit quieter.


The menu is typical of any Ivy restaurant presented on a large single page. Drinks are along the left, sandwiches and offers on the right with nibbles, “Starters” (all about £10), “Mains” (including steaks; mostly in the £20 area with steaks about £30) and “Sides” (mostly £4-£5) in the middle. There are typical Ivy dishes here such as the “Shepherd's Pie” (£14.50) but otherwise the menu is a mixture of flavours from Britain and beyond offering something for everyone. They also had a short menu of seasonal specials on the table. Prices are reasonable but not excessive making it a good choice even for those seeking a pre-theatre nosh (efficient service also helps here).

Salt and Pepper Squid

On our most recent visit, I started my meal with the “Tempura prawns with salt and pepper squid” (£9.25; “Crunchy fried prawns, wasabi miso sauce, Sriracha”) which was absolutely fantastic. The dipping sauce was spicy and the prawns were a good size though the portion size was a bit small though looked great in the serving cone.

My companion's “Jackfruit and peanut bang bang salad” (£7.95; “Chayote, Chinese leaf, mooli, crispy wonton, peanuts, sesame seeds and coriander”) she reported as being absolutely wonderful and different with a mixture of textures and unusual flavours that she really enjoyed.

Monkfish and prawn curry

For my main I had the “Monkfish and prawn curry” (£18.95; “Keralan curry with jasmine rice, shaved coconut, coriander and sweet potato crisps”) which was absolutely heavenly and a good sized portion. The curry was incredibly delicious and there was a good amount of fish. The rice did take a few minutes to arrive and certainly tasted nothing of Jasmine but nicely sopped up the curry sauce. If I had to complain about anything the fish was, as might be expected, slightly overcooked but Monkfish can take it so no problems here.

My companions “Chicken Milanese” (£16.95; “Brioche-crumbed chicken breast with shaved asparagus, radish, mixed herbs, green pesto and herb mayonnaise”) was OK but she reports it was not spectacular.

After our mains we were tempted by the waitress with the dessert menu so I went for a favourite of mine…

Chocolate Bombe

The “Chocolate bombe” (£9.25; “Melting chocolate bombe with a vanilla ice cream and honeycomb centre with hot salted caramel sauce”) is not only a wonderful piece of theatre - Presented on the table as a solid sphere that is then melted away by the waiter pouring over the sauce - It is also tremendously tasty. Sweet, certainly, but not sickly with the salted caramel and dark chocolate adding a complexity to the dish that really satisfies.

My meal came to just a bit more than £50 including a couple of (mock) cocktails which is quite reasonable considering the quality of the food and service (a 12.5% service charge is automatically added to the bill).

Not really suitable for romantic meals, the busy “Ivy Market GrilL” provides something for everyone with great quality and efficient service. Prices may be a bit steep for just an average night out but for a special occasion or when you just want to splash out a bit, it is certainly worth a look in.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2020-03-06

Cuisine: American/British

Address: 1a Henrietta Street Covent Garden London WC2E 8PS ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Covent Garden TUBE Leicester Square TUBE Charing Cross

Location: London (England) - Covent Garden



Show in Google Maps  Get Directions

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 3301 0200