The Ivy Oxford Brasserie invited me along to try out their limited edition Halloween cocktails (more about those later). The Ivy sits on the High Street in central Oxford in an extremely grand and vibrant building. The entrance of the Ivy is always seasonally and beautifully decorated. At the moment it’s adorned with autumnal flowers, leaves and painted pumpkins – gorgeous.
As you can probably tell from the photos, The Ivy Oxford Brasserie is a pretty stunning place.
The interior design of The Ivy is how I want my dream house to look. Plants everywhere, tasteful prints covering every wall and a bar that looks like it’s been transported from the 1920s. I have to say, I’m generally not a big fan of chain restaurants as I love discovering independent and unique spots to eat. However, The Ivy is an exception to this as the interiors and the reliably tasty menu mean you know exactly what you’re getting. The Ivy always manages to make you feel a bit fancy too.
The ‘Pumpkin patch’ Halloween cocktails certainly had a kick!
The Ivy are offering special ‘Pumpkin Patch’ cocktails (ranging from £9.75 – £10.75) until the 31st October – so get in there quick! We tried 3 out of the 4 available and none of them disappointed. They each brought something a little different and they were all presented beautifully.
I let the barman suggest my final cocktail choice and was a little worried when he suggested the cocktail with chili and pumpkin puree in it. Chili and pumpkin puree in a cocktail?! Surprisingly, it turned out to be the best one. The sweetness of the pineapple balanced out the chilli, and the lime gave it the fresh zing it needed. I highly recommend it if you want to try something snappy and different this Halloween season.
Time for starters…
The Ivy can be a little overwhelming if you’re not good at making decisions – the menu offers a lot! However, the dishes are consistently cooked well and don’t disappoint.
I have to get the zucchini fritti (£5.95) as a starter every time I go to one of the Ivy branches. The courgettes are finely sliced and deep-fried in batter. They’re SO moreish, but you get such a generous portion it works out well. They come with a lemon, chilli and mint yoghurt which gives you the zestiness you crave to cut through.
We also shared the twice-baked cheese souffle (£8.75), which is incredibly indulgent and creamy. The Monterey Jack and mozzarella make a creamy and oozy pair, perfected with hints of black truffle. Surprisingly, it’s not as heavy as you’d expect and we were ready for our mains.
Onto the mains…
For mains, I ordered the blackened cod fillet (£17.95) and my partner ordered the rabbit and langoustine pie (£17.50). The blackened cod was served with a soy marinade, citrus-pickled fennel, grilled broccoli and a yuzu mayonnaise. It was light (which was what I was going for as I wanted to squeeze in a dessert too) and the flavours worked really well together. The fish fell apart and was soft and fluffy. The tangy soy marinade really succeeded at bringing the dish to life.
The rabbit and langoustine pie was quite rich, but delicious. The puff pastry was perfectly flaky, and the unlikely pairing of shell-fish and rabbit worked really well. A very hearty dish. My partner had the green beans with roasted almonds (£4.25) alongside it, which were a welcoming addition to quite a creamy dish.
Room for dessert?
After our mains, it was just me who (thought I) had room for dessert. I went for a classic – creme brulee. I just love it and couldn’t help myself. It was quite large and I soon realised my eyes were bigger than my stomach that evening so I didn’t quite manage to finish it off, but it was delicious. The crispy caramelised top unveiling the velvety custard – just delish.
Overall, we had a lovely evening. The Ivy is a beautifully decorated restaurant where you can go for an all-out dinner, a small spot of lunch, afternoon tea or just for a drink at the bar (get those Halloween cocktails while you can!)
They also offer a set menu (for lunch and early evening) which is really reasonably priced.
We dined as guests of The Ivy, all views remain our own.