Saturday 24 July 2021

The Ivy Brasserie Cobham - Review

I’m not going to admit how long it’s been since I last went out for a restaurant meal in the evening with my husband - because it was some time before lockdowns even started. Since having our daughter we’ve hardly ever had anyone babysit so romantic dinners a deux have been off the menu.

We weren’t able to celebrate our wedding anniversary with anything more than a takeaway at home in 2020 but even the year before, our plans fell through as our babysitter was ill so we rescheduled but then my husband was ill and somehow we never got around to finding another date.

So this year with lockdown rules easing and having had our vaccinations I was determined that we were going to do something. As my husband is a fussy eater my first step in choosing a restaurant is to scan the menu for something he would like.

I had recently someone posting images on Facebook of The Ivy Brasserie Cobham and I loved the floral backdrop, which prompted me to look up the restaurant. The Ivy Brasseries are outposts of the famous Ivy restaurant in London which is known for its classic British dishes combined with a contemporary global selection with a particular slant on Asian food. Even then I was actually surprised that somewhere that nice - and that wasn’t a chain restaurant or a pub - had things on the menu like a burger and steak that my husband would actually like!

My eye was also caught by the cocktail list so I booked right away - we had the option of choosing an indoor or an outside table and since my husband had only had one vaccination at that point to my two, he said he preferred to sit outside.

On the day of our booking the weather looked a bit changeable and it had rained in the morning so I called the restaurant to ask if the outdoor tables were under cover and they assured me that they were. However, while our table was at the end of a fixed rectangular canopy that stretched the length of several tables and would have kept the rain off if needed (luckily the weather was fine in the evening!) I did notice that a few tables had what was basically a garden parasol umbrella meaning that at least two if not three people at a table for four would have gotten wet if it rained!

Funnily enough though the restaurant was busy when we arrived but had emptied out well before 8pm.. possibly due to the fact that England was playing in the Euros that night!

The Ivy Brasserie is a beautiful restaurant - there are flowers everywhere and even a wall of flowers outside by the front door (selfie spot alert!). We were shown through the restaurant to a small courtyard garden which would have been prettier had I not been facing a row of patio heaters lined up right behind my husband’s chair. But nonetheless the decor and atmosphere was lovely. 

Service was friendly and on the whole good though I had to ask about my starter after they brought my husband’s and not mine and when I ordered a cocktail from their dessert menu as well as a dessert, I was expecting the drink first and the dessert second, but got it the other way around after having to actually ask a waiter - I think they forgot I’d ordered a drink.

The food was amazing - I don’t know if that’s partly because it as had been literally years since I last ate in a restaurant but I think this was the best meal I’ve had in a long time. We had some sourdough bread (£4.25) and honey glazed almonds (a shocking £3.25 for a tiny handful in a bowl) to start then my husband had the Ivy hamburger (£13.95, cheese is an extra £1.95 - this place isn’t cheap - which he said was very good).

I didn’t want simple traditional food like fish and chips, as while I’m sure the Ivy’s take on this classic dish would be excellent, I can get standard fish and chips anywhere. Instead I chose a Keralan monkfish and prawn curry (£17.95) that came with jasmine rice and sweet potato crisps- with a little trepidation as I wouldn’t normally order a curry in a restaurant unless we were having an Indian takeaway. But it was outstanding - not very spicy (good), with a thin sauce almost like a broth, large chunks of monkfish and juicy prawns and fluffy rice. I wanted to ask for another portion to take home!

The cocktail menu looked very tempting and I had a Passionate Spritz - a combination of aperol, passion fruit vodka and Prosecco. It wasn’t as sweet as I normally like my cocktails - and in fact I’d tried aperol once before and didn’t like it - but it felt like a nice summery drink and I did enjoy it.

I had a Hazelnut Alexander with my dessert - cognac, Frangelico hazelnut liqueur and cream, which was delicious. But probably a bit unnecessary as I’d decided to make the most of being in a restaurant (long overdue!) and also order a dessert.

They had a special dessert in honour of Wimbledon that looked just like a tennis ball which I almost wanted to order just for a photo, but it was filled with strawberries and cream and I’m not keen on strawberries. Instead my husband and I both had a chocolate bombe (£8.95 - since when did desserts start costing so much?). It consisted of vanilla ice cream with a honeycomb centre encased in a chocolate shell, with a little jug of hot caramel sauce that you pour over the chocolate dome to make it melt. I was actually a bit disappointed that the waiter poured the sauce himself as I would have liked to do it! I couldn’t fault the dessert though, it was delicious and the perfect end to a perfect meal - and we got home in time to a happy and contented daughter who had had great fun with her babysitter (and was still awake, but it wasn’t late as we’d had an early sitting at dinner) and in time to catch the end of the football.

A quick FAQ…

What is parking like at the Ivy Brasserie Cobham?

I’d read reviews saying the car park was tiny so expected it to only have a couple of spaces; in fact it was more like 10-12 which admittedly isn’t many - and two spaces were at such angles I wouldn’t have liked to have parked in them. Instead we parked in the public car park on Downside Bridge Road which is a short five minute walk (ten minutes in heels) down the high street to the Ivy restaurant.

Tuesday 13 July 2021

In The Pink Birthday Card

This birthday card was made for a very dear friend I haven’t seen for over a year due to coronavirus. She actually sent me most of the things I used on this card for my birthday so I thought it fitting to make a card for her!

The starting point was a sheet of clear stamps with some popular cute animals - alpaca, flamingo, meerkat and giraffe - and matching sentiments. The animal stamps were all from  the neck up at an angle where it would work best with the animals coming out from the side of the card, so I used a tall thin card blank. I put the flamingo near the top and stamped him in black ink then coloured in with a pink Promarker pen. The matching sentiment said ‘hope this finds you in the pink!’

I then added an alpaca, since I like alpacas and that’s a good enough reason, popping his head out from the other side of the card. One of the other sentiments was perfect to add next to him: ‘miss you!’. I added a couple of highlights with the same pink pen.

I toyed with the idea of adding a happy birthday sticker but decided it wouldn’t look right and I needed to stamp the message. I added a few strokes of pink pen around it to add a bit of colour.

A final touch was two sections of washi tape from a pack the same friend gave me for my birthday; one says ‘happy birthday’ on it and the other ‘lots of love’. Hopefully I will get to see my friend soon!