What better way to spend a lazy Sunday morning with loved ones, than by treating yourself to brunch? Contrary to popular belief, brunch originated in England before becoming popular in America. For some, brunch will not commence until 11.30am, whilst for others (including those at The Ivy Chelsea Garden) breakfast only moves into brunch as of this hour. Therefore, perhaps the hour of our meal constituted as breakfast/brunch as we let the morning slip away from us, seated casually on a leather sofa in the orangery overlooking the garden. As the autumnal morning gathered its warmth, we envied those on the terrace, basking in its gentle rays. By then the serving staff seemed to have settled into the morning routine, comfortably leaving us chatting without interference or the need to use our table for the next sitting. We had dined well and felt that we had begun our relaxed Sunday activities in a fitting manner.
From the extensive brunch menu, we selected the Garden Breakfast, a selection of “Grilled halloumi, avocado, poached hen’s eggs, hollandaise, potato hash, flat mushrooms, roast plum tomatoes, watercress and baked beans. Served with a choice of white, brown or gluten free toast”, and Pancakes (of the America, buttermilk variety), served with smoked streaky bacon and maple syrup; as well as a few pots of tea. Disappointingly, as I removed the egg from the grilled avocado, I noticed its stringy consistency. Not ruined, but not for the purpose of serving. Attracting the attention of the staff they asked if I would like the whole plate replaced, as they would have been more than willing to do so. I said that it was not necessary, and that a new avocado was all that I would require. They quickly took the plate away, also asking if I would prefer an un-grilled avocado instead. I replied that I was happy with the grilled avocado, which blackens the flesh of the fruit, and my dish was replaced within minutes. Despite this hiccough, I prefer to see bright, attentive service that is responsive to each customer’s requests and felt that this small fault did not decrease my enjoyment of a dish that overall was fresh, colourful and fulfilled my brunch cravings with alternative combinations. Stealing a forkful of pancake from the adjacent plate, they were hearty, well-seasoned and filling; bacon and maple syrup being the classic and indisputable best accompaniments to the dish.
Another day, I will go back to the Chelsea Garden and try their All Day menu. In London, where competitors are consistently attempting to create something new and alternative, it is almost refreshing to find a restaurant that is committed to serving simple, British cuisine with grace and respect for its produce. Aside from The Wolseley and The Bluebird Restaurant, The Ivy Chelsea Garden is a welcome edition, and I look forward to visiting The Ivy Kensington Brasserie when it opens its doors in the forthcoming years.