I am a lady of very simple tastes. A low-maintenance kinda gal. I’m a believer that pizza > haute cuisine, pub > wine bar, and would be just as happy with a bag of chips and a trip to the cinema over a meal out on a date night.
So when an email popped into my inbox inviting me to the superbly swanky Ivy Brasserie in Clifton to sample their new waffle menu, I was a bit nervous. Would I be accepted there, in my battered old Reebok Classics and with my unrefined tastebuds? Turns out, the answer is an overwhelming yes, and it’s bloody great.
We’re not regulars to this part of town, it being on the direct opposite side of the city to where we live. But on a sunny Saturday morning we took our old grandad Mercedes for a trip north of the river to check it out.
The first hurdle we came across was the parking issue. The Ivy is situated in Clifton Village, a stone’s throw from the Clifton Club, on Caledonia Place. The majority of parking in this area is permit holder’s only, since every Bristolians fave (*SARCASM*) the RPZ came into effect. On the busy Saturday morning that we visited, all of the few ‘free’ spaces were being snapped up quickly, so we had to park a short walk away.
Having said that, there are good bus links up to Clifton Village, and it’s a 15-20 minute walk from Clifton Down station.
Once inside the absolutely stunning interior, we were seated in the beautiful conservatory, which was looking gorgeous in the mid morning sunshine. A delicious cup of strong black coffee was soon in hand, and we were left to decide what took our fancy off the menu. I was here to sample the new waffle menu, and being something of a waffle connoisseur I was extremely excited.
I have to admit though, that while the first waitress who served us was very pleasant, she was soon replaced with another chap who was a little overbearing. I’m usually not quick to complain about service (seems like a bit of a mean thing to do), but everything about his serving manner was quite odd – he kept making strange jokes about things we said that left the atmosphere feeling tense and uncomfortable. I should have said something at the time but wouldn’t really have known how to frame it; he wasn’t being unpleasant, in fact it was quite the opposite, but it was a strange waiting style which was a bit offputting.
It wasn’t long before the food arrived and we could get stuck in. Tom had eggs florentine with avocado, which came with a strangely long silver goblet of chips on the side, which surprisingly he was unable to finish, even with his usually healthy appetite. The verdict was a resounding thumbs up from the boy, but maybe ask to swap the chips if you can’t do double carbs.
The waffle menu is a very clever and exciting thing – you pick and choose the elements of your breakkie, so you can waffle to your heart’s content and have full control over the flavours. I chose a bit of an odd combination of cinnamon waffle topped with raspberries, pistachio ice cream, honey comb and chocolate sauce. It was a delight. The waffle was super light and crisp, and the chocolate sauce came warm in a fancy little silver jug so you could choose how much you wanted to drench your ice cream in it. I’d probably lay off the honeycomb if you have any fillings though, they were jawbreakingly crunchy.
Tom’s verdict on the waffles – “too sweet”. I think if you’re a big fan like me then this build-your-own menu is a dream come true, but in addition The Ivy have a comprehensive brunch menu sure to please anyone wanting to while away the morning dining in style.
I was invited to The Ivy Brasserie Clifton for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are my own.