Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ivory surprise

I haven’t been to the Ivory since it changed from being the Aquarium. Our original plan was to eat at the Lightship as we didn’t want to cross Tower Bridge as we didn’t have a huge amount of time to refuel and return to a much awaited email. I haven’t been to the Lightship for ages, I’ve had some very nice meals there but H is not partial to entering any establishment that might possibly sway due to being on water and the clue is in the name of the restaurant here. So this little avenue of pleasure has been unavailable for a while but P (previously been referred to as designated driver P!) doesn’t seem to be affected by the possibility of a slight rocking. But being a very chilly Wednesday night or for some other undisclosed reason, only one floor was open and there wasn't room for us so they suggested we went to their sister restaurant - the Ivory. I had checked the menu for the Ivory as we passed but thought it was a little odd so wasn’t too delighted that this was all that was on offer. As a plan B, I suggest we went to the bar above the Ivory which I’d had a stunning Wagyu beef cheeseburger with H last year. And I knew that P was craving a beef burger as the picture of my Gourmet Burger Kitchen burger from last Friday made him positively giddy so I thought this may fill the gap. We climbed the stairs to the Ivory bar (formerly the Bang Bar) and ordered two of their finest Wagyu (AKA Kobe) burgers. But we were thwarted; they are still offering Wagyu beef but only in some sort of noodle salad travesty and I had some awful Masa flashback at themere thought. They gave us the menu and it was the menu I’d read downstairs believing it was the Ivory restaurant menu, I asked if this was the same menu as downstairs and they said no – that was the “proper restaurant”. Oh I thought, well why would we perch on a rather uncomfortable looking barstools at the bar, we’d go downstairs and eat at the proper restaurant instead. So we go back downstairs again, get seated and are offered the same menu as upstairs. Are you still following? By now I’m really confused, they shouldn’t really offer the restaurant menu in the bar but sometimes do and we were no nearer to a fabulous Wagyu cheeseburger than when we started. I’m not sure why I didn’t fancy the menu but there were little extras to everything that I should wasn’t crazy about but on closer examination, it actually seemed okay with only minor tweaking. And by now we were rather hungry so we weren’t going anywhere else.

We both ordered the wild mushroom soup with a poached duck egg (I think) in the middle. Again I tried to record this murky looking soup with a curious white lump partially submerged in the centre on my camera phone. It doesn’t look terribly attractive on my camera phone but no matter as the phone is not relinquishing its photographs anyway. I’m still struggling to work out how to type my email address in Cyrillic; I think I will just give up. The appearance may have not been the finest but the soup was very tasty and the poached egg was an interesting and unusual addition. Though P was deeply suspicious and left his intact declaring that eggs are for breakfast.

Next I ordered the pork belly and Brussels tops but not with the proffered sauerkraut (ughhh!) but instead with that ever shining light the end of a bad meal tunnel – potato purée. And P ordered the crumbed chicken breast with coleslaw and gremolata. He was going to plump for the straw potatoes but I pointed him in the direction of the double cooked chips – ‘man’s chips!’ and the waiter backed me up. My pork belly was really good and the mash was very, very good. How could I have doubted them? It was creamy, tasty and extremely copious – and no I didn’t eat it all! But it definitely needs to be added to the mash hall of fame. P was very impressed with his chips - pleasingly fluffy on the inside and perfectly crunchy on the outside. And the chicken? How curious, it was so big and very thin. It in fact was the largest chicken breast I had ever seen carefully flattened by a steam roller and then crumbed. One can only wonder where on earth one gets such a stupendous chicken; I’d dread to see the size of the original bird.

Our meal was so much better than I expected, we didn’t have time for desserts but they looks quite interesting also. I feel quite guilty for the quick glance at the menu that caused me to instantly dismiss them on first examination. I really should try not to judge a restaurant by its menu, there’s probably always some redeeming features and hidden surprises worth exploring. And when the mash is so fine, much can be excused!

An ivory handled fork for the Ivory, I will definitely give them another go even though in my mind they’ve spoilt their original Wagyu dish!

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