Last night Kirsten Butler (aka The Little Wedding Helper), Emma Norton and I had a fabulous girls night out at The Ivy Clifton Brasserie.
I've always wanted to eat at The Ivy in London but it's still on my 'wish' list so I was very excited to see whether Bristol's newest addition to it's thriving restaurant scene would live up to my expectations.
In the heart of Clifton Village, the restaurant is based in the old Bank building on Caledonia Place. The entrance is quite impressive but it's the inside that has the real 'Wow' factor. With lots of beautiful dark wood, amazing Art Deco light fixtures and a stunning bar area, it's really quite breathtaking when you walk in.
I have to mention the staff - all immaculately dressed, they were welcoming, friendly and attentive and I was really impressed that every member of staff who dealt with us seemed to know who was having which dish at our table.
We all started with a cocktail and I had the beautiful 'Lavender Lady' which was delicious with quite a delicate flavour.
The menu is really extensive and we loved the fact that along with some unusual dishes there were also some great comfort dishes like their signature hamburger and fish and chips. Our starters were superb - I had one of my all time favourites, the classic Prawn Cocktail, and was really pleased that it was fresh with a great tomato flavour - not at all sickly or over creamy, but my companions' dishes looked wonderful too, with Kirsten choosing the seared scallops and Emma the Mozzarella di Bufala - which I think I want to try next time! The ladies decided on steak and fat chips and I went for one of the days specials which was two different types of lamb, incredibly tender and tasty.
In the past I've not been able to resist the dessert menu but these days I find that so many things are too sweet or sickly that it takes a really good pudding to tempt me but I have to say EVERYTHING on the dessert menu appealed to me. I was a bit worried as Kirsten and Emma chose the Creme Brûlée which is one of my ultimate favourites and I thought I was going to be jealous but I HAD to try the Chocolate Bombe with an ice cream centre and warm salted caramel sauce, which our waitress poured over the Bombe. I can happily report that it was divine! Our only regret was that Kirsten didn't video it melting under the sauce. All washed down with a delicate bottle of rose and finished off with coffee.
We all felt it was a real dining experience - wonderful surroundings, great service and a fabulous menu, beautifully cooked and presented!
We ate in a room off the main dining area, which we all thought would be wonderful for a smaller wedding party as it had a garden area too and the whole experience was really rather special.
It's also worth mentioning that they serve afternoon tea so once you've done your wedding dress shopping you could pop in to rest your weary feet and treat yourselves!
I'll definitely be going back - hopefully might surprise my husband and treat him for a special occasion!