Leaves of Three
My oh my, hasn’t this year started with a bang, crash and wallop! First we hear that the inimitable Starman, David Bowie, has left the planet. That was certainly a shock to the system. He was never an idol of mine back in the day; his androgyny and peculiar looks were never really my cup of tea but over the years I’ve come to appreciate his music and his sheer style. And with his last album, Black Star, he certainly orchestrated his departure in a thoroughly impactful way. A creative force par excellence, he became the icon of several generations, as fresh and creative in later life as he was as a young man. His huge talent and his colourful, ever changing personae will be missed by many, including myself.
Alan Rickman, charismatic actor of of ‘Truly, Madly Deeply’ and Harry Potter fame left the room too. Like David Bowie he was only 69 and much too young to deprive us of his thespian charms.
Then, to top it all, super glam ex model Jerry Hall, previously married to rock legend Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, announces her engagement to Rupert Murdoch of all people! Honestly, Jerry is no spring chicken herself but did she need a sugar daddy so badly that she had to hitch up with a somewhat dodgy old man 25 years her senior? It’s a Beauty and the Beast kind of liaison and almost borders on the indecent! But maybe I’m just being unkind, after all, there’s no accounting for chemistry.
I’ve had my problems too, here on this blog. New year new website, I thought and consulted a so called expert to help me with the techie side of things. This individual then proceeded to lose me my entire list of email followers and left me, by this time tearing my hair out with indignation and frustration, with a site that still leaves much to be corrected. I hope you will all bear with me, dear readers, while a proper designer takes over and smoothes things out. If you are one of my followers who is now waiting for your updates in vain, please refollow this blog. You are all invaluable to me and I’m very keen to have you all on board! On the plus side, my blog readership has shot up to several thousand readers daily and I’m loving writing for so many of you from all over the world. Hello Togo! Hello South Korea! Hello Reunion! Thank you to Guyana, New Caledonia, Guadeloupe and the Cote d’Ivoire! In fact, thank you to each and every one of you who give me your attention and time wherever you are! I’m thrilled to bits to have you here!
Maybe all this is down to the mercurial forthcoming Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey which is taking over from the gentler, creative Goat, who knows?! Monkeys, goats, whatever, after all this to do, the Lovely Husband decided to cheer me up by taking me out to dinner at The Ivy Brasserie in Kensington. This, once again, is owned by Richard Caring and his Caprice Holdings. It opened in December as part of the new Ivy expansion which also includes The Ivy Market Grill in Covent Garden, The Ivy Café Marylebone and The Ivy Chelsea Garden, presumably with other Ivys growing more tendrils all around the capital. The formerly rather exclusive name of the favourite A-lister haunt in theatreland is getting rather ubiquitous and turning the business into a more upmarket type of Café Rouge, or so it seems. In any case, these new common or garden Ivys are created as more accessible neighbourhood brasseries, more relaxed than the original.
So, how was it? Well, first of all I was impressed with the service. We’d booked a table for two which turned out to be too close to the draughty front door for my liking but, although the place was packed, we were moved to a much nicer, cosier table in the middle of the restaurant without much ado. I was most grateful for that as it was perishing outside. And I loved the great orb ceiling lights which looked fabulous and gave off a warm, inviting glow.
The clientele was also much more pleasant than its brasher, blingier counterpart at The Ivy Chelsea Garden, more local, more old money, casually smart and less pretentious. Our food too, was nice, no more no less. Very palatable but nothing particularly spectacular to write home about. Our shared starter of crispy duck salad stood out by not being too sweet with the duck being genuinely crispy. The Lovely Husband’s Shepherds Pie, an Ivy signature dish, was hearty and good and just as comforting as this type of nursery food should be. My baked rigatoni was, well, exactly that, warming carbohydrate with a decent lightish tomato sauce and not overly cheesy, nicely hot, which is not always the case with pasta, so Brownie points for that. Our pudding was a shared treacle tart with vanilla ice cream and cream. That was ok but I can’t say that I haven’t had better and I’d have preferred it if the waiter hadn’t so copiously poured the cream over the tart before I had the chance to request moderation.
All in all, it was an enjoyable if not amazingly memorable meal, and I’d certainly drop in again, if, say, I was in the area and fancied a quick uncomplicated bite or perhaps for lunch and a chat with a girlfriend. Including our bottle of wine, water and service, we paid £87 for one starter, two main courses and one pudding, which is not unreasonable for Kensington.
Ivy is a clinging plant and almost impossible to remove from the walls it populates. It strangles every other plant in it’s path. I suspect that the same is true of the restaurants by the same name. It looks as though they are here to stay and spreading continuously. Prepare for the Ivy invasion!
The Ivy Brasserie, 96 Kensington High Street, London W8 4SG.
Tel.: 020 3301 0500 www.theivykensingtonbrasserie. com
What I wore
Black on black: Black cropped narrow trousers from Zara (length not shown), black V neck jumper from Joseph (not shown), military style black jacket with leather and velvet trim by High Tech, black/sky blue reversible Hermes belt with gold H buckle (not shown), black suede strappy Charlotte Olympia sandals with gold teddy bear detail and a black classic Chanel shoulder bag with chain strap.
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Kia aka Fizz of Life