The Ivy is in no way new to me and probably not to you either. However, it is brand new in Exeter. In fact, it hasn’t actually officially opened to the public yet (9th June is open day!). My parents, Ben and I were invited down during one of the ‘test’ sessions at The Ivy Exeter, where all the staff get a few weeks to test out everything in the restaurant and filter out any teething problems.
The Old City Bank in the heart of town, on the Cathedral Green has been transformed into the most gorgeous restaurant. The sandstone exterior remains pretty untouched. Except for the symmetrical gold writing on the side of the building, the bistro-style entrance and the classic green parasols that The Ivy is famous for.
The interior doesn’t deviate from what you would expect from the up-market chain. Sumptuous velvet fabrics paired with subtle art-deco references. A low, intimate seating area is immediately in front of you as you enter. An area that calls for pre-dinner drinks. Green upholstery and palm leaf covered chairs fill the restaurant, but tropical plants of varying heights really elevate the room.
The star of the show is the bar that sits centre stage down one side of the room. A brass structure with mirrored panels and a pink marble surface that lights up. Green leather bar stools welcome you to sip a cocktail at the counter. It’s the perfect spot for a first date or drinks with friends.
If the main dining room wasn’t statement enough, the ladies loos need a mention on their own. Elaborate gold floral wallpaper surrounds the room, drawing your eye up to the floral ceiling and crystal chandelier. The sinks are cut out of one long slab of pink marble that mirrors the separate pink toilets. They really are the best loos in town.
Back at the table, the food is as fabulously consistent as it is at every other Ivy. We each ordered something different. Hot Buttermilk Pancakes with strawberries, raspberries and blackberries with Greek yoghurt, lemon balm and warm strawberry sauce for me.
The Ivy Vegetarian Breakfast with grilled halloumi, avocado, poached hen’s eggs, hollandaise, sweet potato, flat mushrooms, roast plum tomatoes, watercress and baked beans with toast for Ben.
Poached Eggs and Crushed Avocado with dark caraway toast, pomegranate, sesame and toasted seeds for my Mum.
The Ivy Full English Breakfast with smoked streaky bacon, Cumberland herbed sausage, fried hen’s eggs, black pudding, roast plum tomatoes, grilled flat mushroom and baked beans with toast for my Dad.
My Dad was hugely impressed with his Virgin Mary while my Mum’s Mixed Berry Smoothie didn’t hang around for long! I chose a decaf iced latte and Ben ordered a Green Juice.
To top off our brunch, we had the Breakfast Pastries which were the perfect finishing touch to a delicious meal.
The Ivy has always been hailed as one of the leaders in affordable luxury, in a casual yet polished setting and The Ivy Exeter only elevates the reputation of the chain. There’s a reason it’s always so popular and I can imagine, the restaurant will be booked up for quite a while after opening so bookings are highly recommended!
The Ivy Exeter officially opens on Wednesday 9th June and the restaurant is now taking bookings.