The Ivy: Go for the people watching, not for the food
Nothing on the plate at this big name opening will distract you too much
Looking out the window of The Ivy on Dawson Street you’d wonder if a Little Londoning of Dublin is happening. To the right there’s a Carluccio’s, just up from it a Marco Pierre White’s. A Weatherspoons would complete that barnacle on the hull of an ocean liner feeling – Dublin as the rummage stall for once glittery ideas from the big smoke.
The original Ivy was opened in London just over a century ago by an Italian entrepreneur. It became famous for its theatre clientele, the beautiful and the damned in their gossipy element. It went through many hands, a succession of golden ages and has sprouted into the Ivy Collection, a chain of more than 30 brasseries and cafes, most of them in London and the southeast of England. Leeds and Manchester will be Ivy-ed this year. The Ivy Dublin is the first branch outside Britain.
In a food bubble it’s easy to imagine that everyone’s talking about this year’s big opening but my friend’s taxi driver thought she wanted to go to a pub in Crumlin and the 11-year-old in our house wondered whether I was headed to the Iveagh Hostel or the Iveagh Gardens. The Ivy’s reputation doesn’t travel much outside a certain zone.