With its pedigree from the well-run celebrity-magnet in Soho, it is perhaps to be expected that the Ivy Café in Marylebone is, above all, a place with good manners. In a vulgar age that confuses coarseness with authenticity, that comment requires clarification. We, who salute civility, who celebrate easy elegance, do not conflate politesse with stiffness.
Rather, we recognise politeness as the wellspring of attention to detail and readiness to be of service. Both are admirable qualities in anyone but particularly so in a catering establishment. That sense of purpose extends to the atmosphere and to the menu, with its unapologetic reliance on tried-and-tested dishes. The Ivy Café is undoubtedly a high-end locale but it is also, happily, a thoroughly decent ‘local’.
The interior of the Ivy Café is clearly inspired by the sort of Golden Era elegance we prize, though the specific details of individual fixtures are more 1950s than 1920s, in their particulars. The whole effect is quite balanced, at any rate (again, those exquisite manners). The main room also benefits from the generous fenestration permitted by its corner location.
The convex, American-style long bar runs along a fair majority of the single interior space. The high stools and linear seating do not suggest prolonged permanence but the bar itself is satisfyingly polished as are the drinks so, by all means, indulge in a pre-prandial snifter or two.
The Ivy Cafe’s menu is replete with classics: from Shepherd’s Pie to Sole Meuniere; from Onion Soup to Chicken Mianese. We dare even the finickiest eater not to spot something they can rely on, in that men. They also offer a brunch menu, at weekends. The pricing is reasonable, by London standards. It might not become your home from home, but it is approachable as an occasional treat.
The Ivy Cafe Marylebone
96 Marylebone Ln, Marylebone, W1U 2QA
Tel.: 020 3301 0400