As an 80s child, my first taste of freedom was in the noughties with nights out spent frivolously, in and around London. The week running up to a night out would be spent meticulously planning my outfit, experimenting with my hair and make up and trawling fashion and beauty magazines for trends. Oh those were the days!
Admiring stylish celebs stepping out of the finest hot spots, how could I not have heard and aspired to dine at London’s famous restaurant, The Ivy. Little did my 21 year old self know, I’d one day he invited along to experience one of their openings in The Ivy Collection!
As a mother of one (soon to be two), nights out now our certainly less on the frivolous side, in fact they’re more like a military operation. Babysitter permitting, I’ll take any excuse to get dressed up and catch up properly with Ant or the girls over great food and wine. Having most likely planned the date weeks in advance, my outfit will have been thought about a few minutes before leaving. As for my hair and make up, well I’ve managed to nail both in just 15 mins.
Just when I thought I’d got over the excitement of having one of The Ivy Collection Brasseries pop up down the road from us in Cobham, Surrey, local news emerged of a new opening, part of the same collection, in vibrant Guildford. Within 12 months we’ve been offered not one, but two Ivy Brasseries in the Surrey Hills vicinity, providing a fantastic addition to Guildford’s bustling restaurant and bar scene.
Big fans of the Brasserie’s in The Ivy Collection, there are very few Ant and I are yet to sample. For us they tick every box, all the heritage and 5* service of the high quality quintessential British Brasserie, edited to offer a standardised, but varied all day menu of amazing food. There is no compromise on quality and fresh ingredients, style and surroundings and all at a modest price point.
I can not tell you the volume of the squeal I made when within days of each other I was invited to help staff of The Ivy Castle View, Guildford by trialling the dinner service, ahead of opening and also to attend a Bloggers Breakfast on the morning of their opening day.
So on Saturday night, dressed up and ready to go, we headed out in the rain to Guildford for the first dinner sitting of the evening. Luckily we were happy to discover that the restaurant, which is located in the newly developed Tunsgate Quarter, has a dedicated underground car park.
We were seated at a fantastic table, a booth opposite the window, with stunning views of the castle. Once the rain had passed we were able to admire the sun setting while we dined.
Given the option to choose a selection of entreés from the menu, we decided to share a portion of their signature Truffle Arancini balls, which are fried risotto ball deliciousness, alongside their seriously moreish Zucchini Fritti. These finely cut courgette batons are fried in a salty batter and served with a lemon, chilli and mint yoghurt dip. The portion is ginormous, easily enough for 4 or as an alternative to potato fries/chips with your main.
Note to self – photo food before eating!
On to our mains, and for me I couldn’t resist their Blackened Cod Fillet, another favourite dish that regular chain attendees will tell you is just fabulous. Cooked to perfection, the cod is baked in a banana leaf with baby pak choi and served along shaved radish, toasted sesame and a yuzu mayonnaise, which is basically a Japanese citrus fruit. Ant opted for their dish of the day, a huge sirloin steak with sides of fat chips and tenderstem broccoli, the perfect Saturday night dinner for both of us.
We’re both not usually dessert fans, but as it was a treat, we decided to get involved! I opted for the huge creme brûlée (easily enough for two to share) and Ant went for the Apple Tart Fine. His beautiful baked apple tart was served with vanilla ice cream and an impressive calvados flambé. I can not fault my choice, and Ant said that for him, his dessert was by far his favourite dish of the night! The light pastry was topped with perfectly caramelised apple and an alcoholic crisp – ideal to accompany the cocktails he was enjoying from the extensive menu! Having finished and settled the bill we headed for a seat at the large bar to finish our drinks.
Ant’s favourite cocktail of the night was the ‘Silent Sling’, a bespoke adaptation of the famous “Raffles Singapore Sling’, made with a base from local gin distillers, Silent Pool. My after dinner tipple of choice was The Peach & Elderlower Iced Tea, which is made using two of the Ivy’s own tea blends – Ivy 1917 & Ivy Afternoon Tea.
How gorgeous is the Surrey based Gin, Silent Pool bottle
The Bloggers Breakfast
On Wednesday, 4th April, the opening day, I was invited along to the local Bloggers Breakfast to meet with other local Surrey based bloggers and social influencers and discover more about the new restaurant opening. We were given the opportunity to sample a dish from their delicious breakfast menu, including a tray of freshly baked pastries with preserves.
The Breakfast was hosted in the Looking Glass Room, a private dining area that can seat up to 30 or 100 standing and overlooks Guildford Castle gardens. The decor is just stunning, bright and Art Deco inspired, as well as offering a spectacular view out on to the green.
While enjoying a catch up with some of my favourite local bloggers, we tucked in to a selection of varied sweet and savoury dishes. I chose the ‘Green Juice’, a mix of avocado, mint, celery, spinach and apple, to accompany more Avocados, served on toasted granary, with roasted plum tomatoes, poached hen’s eggs and a creamy sesame dressing, which is just out of this world.
Having sampled the dinner menu a few days prior, it felt very indulgent to enjoy a yummy brunch with the girls a few days later, catching up and meeting new faces.
If you’re local to Guildford and looking for somewhere to dine in style this Summer, whether it’s just for a treat or celebrating a special occasion, then The Ivy Castle View gets a big thumbs up from me. You won’t be disappointed.
For more information and menus, you can find everything over at The Ivy Guildford website, we’ll certainly be back!
Thanks for reading
With thanks to The Ivy Guildford and Wickerwood PR for spoiling me with dinner and breakfast and beautiful imagery for my blog post.