The Ivy, a restaurant popular with celebrities, theatre goers, and lovers of the arts. The famous London chain is probably not what you’d associate with budget or vegan travel, but hear me out. When I was invited to the The Ivy’s opening night in Edinburgh for food and drinks, my first thought was, ‘getting something vegan is going to be a pain’. My second thought, ‘this place is going to cost a fortune’. I was wrong on both accounts.
On arrival, you are given the kind of first class service you’d expect from a premium restaurant. You’re greeted at the front desk, your coat and bag are taken, and you’re escorted to the bar.
We opted for prosecco, and when asked to provide recommendations for best vegan travel snacks, the staff presented us with delicious courgette fries. This generously sized starter is fantastic, and would have been a perfect accompaniment to a quick drink. My only negative, there was no offer of a replacement for the dairy-based dip.
We didn’t call ahead to enquire about vegan meal options. We had been informed that this would be managed on the spot. It was.
The Ivy’s vegetarian food selection consists of only two options. Both contain cheese. Already I’m hearing a little sigh, but (again) stick with me. The staff were great and went straight to the kitchen to find out the chef’s plans for making these dishes vegan friendly. I went for the grilled aubergine with quinoa and mushrooms (think cannelloni, with the aubergine replacing the pasta). The chef removed the pesto sauce that it was meant to come with originally, and replaced it with a tomato based sauce instead. My main praise for The Ivy has to be that there wasn’t a stuffed pepper in sight. The butternut squash option is a little obvious, but my main was unique and had me talking about it for the rest of the week.
If you’ve a large appetite like me, I recommend sharing a side of chips.
I don’t want to say that The Ivy is cheap. It’s certainly not. That’s not what they’re going for. However, in comparison to it’s surrounding Edinburgh competitors, I was pleasantly surprised at how affordable it was. We’re not talking backpack budgets, but we are talking what you’d usually expect from a city centre restaurant.
My prosecco was £6. We shared the courgette fries (zucchini fritti) at £6, and my main came in at £14. We shared a side of £3.50 chips, and I finished off the night with a £3.50 almond milk latte. Per head, this comes in at under £30 for an evening meal.
Definitely not breaking the bank (though over the budget I usually have per meal whilst lugging my backpack around the world). However, I very much doubt that backpacking Sarah is the kind of clientele that The Ivy are looking for. In summary, a strong contender for an upmarket vegan visit in Edinburgh. Go check it out (if you can get a reservation).
Have you been to The Ivy yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts on their food, service and location? For more vegan in options in Edinburgh, check out my post Vegan and Vegetarian eating in Edinburgh.