The Ivy, Birmingham

In possibly the most exciting thing to ever happen in Macclesfield, my parents have an incubating duck in their back garden. I know, hold on to those pants of yours before the gust of elation whips them clean off. It’s just sat there, keeping the eggs warm, giving my Dad disapproving looks through the patio doors for watching Naked Attraction in his sixties. My Mom is ducked off about it because she has to contend with the dog going ducking barmy at not being able to eat it. And as cute as they are to look at, I’m siding with Betty the terrier. I ducking love eating duck.

Duck meat makes up two of the four dishes we eat at The Ivy in Birmingham, but before we get to the food let’s talk about that dining room. It’s a stunner; 1920’s glamour in shades of lavender, burnt orange, and jade. We are sat in one of the booths under the gaze of the stain glass windows. This must be one of Birminghams most beautiful seats for food.

One dish withstanding, the food is very good. A starter of asparagus, mozzarella, and pesto is light and impeccable in delivery; the mozzarella has an air of burrata in texture, a million miles from the ball of rubber that so many places wheel out. A salad of duck is even better, the five spice dressing not overpowering, the richness cut through by cubes of compressed melon, and toasted cashew to bring texture. If all salad was this good, I’d be a Victoria’s Secret model.

The duck main is a red curry, rich with coconut milk, fragrant and generously spiced. The meat is tender, and there’s a lot of it; pretty good for a brasserie curry. I’m less keen on the seabass, which is served whole and battered into submission by the olives, capers, and fennel that accompany it. In hindsight I wish I’d never ordered this, given that there were a dozen or so other dishes on the menu I’d rather have eaten, but I was trying to be healthy. Given the copious amounts of wine I’d already drunk, I should have just ducking given in and ordered the shepherd’s pie.

With portions generous in size dessert defeats us. It seems that The Ivy is already a smash hit in Birmingham, turning tables away on a packed midweek evening and heavily booked up for weekends to come. I can see why; the food is not the best in Birmingham by a long distance, but the service is polished, the prices fair, and it’s definitely the dining room to be seen at the moment.

Find The Ivy at 67-71 Temple Row, Birmingham, B2 5LS. WEBSITE.

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