The Ivy Market Grill, Covent Garden

Ivy Market Grill business card

The Ivy Market Grill is Richard Caring’s latest venture (he’s the bloke who sold Cote for millions and he also owns Jackson + Rye, Bill’s, Scott’s and The Ivy to name but a few). I wasn’t convinced by the idea of using The Ivy’s name for a high street chain concept but the place was heaving so it has obviously worked.

The inside was smart and handsome; like a grown up version of Jackson + Rye. Tables were insanely close together though – when I went to powder my nose, I practically sat in the neighbouring tables darne of salmon. They’d crammed tables in wherever humanly possible which made the whole experience a totally joyless one – unless overhearing everyone else’s conversations is your thing.

inside

The menu, which has the exact same layout as Jackson + Rye, was confusing and cluttered. To start, the crunchy prawns with wasabi (£9.75) had a touch of the Weatherspoons about them. They were served on skewers which was a little pointless but most annoying of all, the tails were attached yet hidden in batter. Spitting out a mouthful of prawn shell mush is never a good look.

Crispy prawns

Slightly better were the wild mushrooms on toast (£7.25) which were pleasantly drenched in a creamy sauce and they were grit free – hoorah! You’d be surprised how many restaurants don’t clean mushrooms properly these days.

Mushrooms on toast

The 12oz rib-eye (£26.50) had the oddest texture. The steak was so hot it was actually steaming, and when cut into, the meat oozed water which was most bizarre. I’ve never had a steak like it – it was repulsive. It tasted like it had been cooked en masse. It was expensive too – and it didn’t even come with chips or a sauce.

12 oz rib eye

The Market Grill shepherd’s pie (£12.75) was so hot it felt like it had come fresh from the microwave which was such a shame as the flavour was divine. It didn’t seem to lose its volcanic temperature the whole time it was on the table either. A side of crisp, well seasoned zucchini fritti (£3.75) were the best things we ate all evening.

Shepherd's pie

Zucchini

Ivy Market Grill is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. After that meal, I can confidently say I won’t go back for any of them. The whole thing felt like a re-hashed version of Jackson + Rye to me, which is unimaginative at best, and lazy at worst.

4/10

Ivy Market Grill on Urbanspoon

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