A Review of The Ivy, St Helen’s Square, York

Well, I have been keen to visit The Ivy, York for quite some time. Yes, I appreciate it is a chain and there are plenty of them scattered around the country, but I am a basically drawn to beautiful interiors like a moth to a light. Having walked past many times and peered through the window like some weirdo I couldn’t wait to actually venture inside. A full inspection of the decor, rather than the food, was top of my list on this occasion.


I met up with a friend from Leeds (it’s ok – Candi did know I was off out of lunch with another friend!) but that means this post doesn’t really count as part of our joint challenge to eat in every restaurant in York. I was hoping The Ivy was going to be good so I could visit again with Candi in tow.

I had a quick scan of Trip Advisor first, and The Ivy scores a healthy 4/5 but there were some moans about the service and the prices, so I have to admit I set off expecting it to be kind of average (but with awesome decor!).

We were greeted in the lobby area by two really friendly staff and shown to our table. The interior did not disappoint – in fact it truly delighted myself and my friend. It is stunning. From the glitzy bar, with a 1920’s charm, to the comfy seating and plumb cushions, the amazing artwork adorning every inch of wall space, to the crisp linen napkins – we loved it all. The artwork also incorporates some charming images of York which I thought was a really lovely touch.


It was 12.30 on a Saturday when we visited and not that busy but it filled up really quickly whilst we were there. Our helpful waitress swiftly brough us some tap water whilst we pursued the menu. It was tricky to decide what to eat, as everything on the brunch menu sounded pretty tasty but in the end I opted for the Steak Sandwich ‘French dip’ and my friend went for Eggs Royale and chips. To drink we both ordered a Peach & Elderflower Iced Tea (I refused to have a normal tea on the grounds it was £3.75!!). The table next to us (not that I am nosey!) ordered some cocktails that were made at their table – we were jealous.

The drinks and then the food arrived really promptly and the service throughout was excellent – absolutely could not fault it, it was five-star in our opinion and the restaurant was very busy by this point.

The food was delicious and totally exceeded my expectations. The chips were fantastic and it was a really generous portion – always a good thing. The steak sandwich had the addition of caramalised onions and horseradish mayo, the latter of which there wasn’t much of but for my tastes that was a good thing. I did find the watercress over powered the other two additions but I guess it needed something green in there. The ‘French dip’ was a red wine & beef sauce which was like a really strong and delcious roast beef dinner gravey, I could probably have eaten a pint jug full!


My friend’s Eggs Royale looked beautiful and she proclaimed the dish to be fantastic. The muffin was stacked with smoked salmon, slathered in hollandaise sauce and topped with poached eggs and rocket.


The drinks were nice but in all honesty tasted of neither peach or elderflower which was quite curious. More like a lemony weak tea, which I admit it not a great description as it was nicer than I’ve made it sound.


We were too full for pudding (the chips were worth it) but had a quick look at the menu anyway and offerings included crème brûlée, apple tart and the famous chocolate bombe – I really wanted to have room for that so was a bit sad, but I will just have to make a return visit with Candi. Talking of Candi, there were quite a few veggie options so I think she’d be happy!

I couldn’t possibly have left without a trip to nosey at the interiors in the ladies toilets. After a walk up the lovely staircase, adorned with bold artwork of insects and butterflies, I walked into the toilet of dreams. Yes I took a photo of the tiles. Yes I posted it on our instagram. I want my bathroom to look like this please…


🍛 Meal for 2 with two soft drinks (also includes service charge) : £40

🎉 My Highlight: Other than the interiors (I feel I’ve banged on about those enough as this is meant to be a food blog not ‘The World of Interiors’) it was most certainly the chips – they were heavenly.

🍴 If I could change one thing…
Always a tricky one to answer – this time, it’s pretty minor and I dealt with it myself, bit there was a bit too much rocket in the sarnie.

Overall ratings:

Jane ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Restaurant details:  www.theivyyork.co.uk



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