London’s most famous restaurant, The Ivy, has been opening branches nationwide, including one in Cheltenham. Kylie Taylor visited for the Worcester News.

After the hype of the opening earlier this year I jumped at the opportunity to visit The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie for on a warm July evening.

Located in the historic Rotunda building which dates back to 1827, The Ivy’s exterior has a sense of grandness. You feel like you’re in a Hollywood movie as you enter the lobby. Our table had a view of the whole restaurant and the atmosphere was buzzing with an array of diners ranging from families and couples to post-work Martini drinkers.

The circular bar is at the centre of the large but not overcrowded space, with the most beautiful vast ceiling. The walls are vibrant and feature a mural of Cheltenham’s first Gold Cup in 1804, which works well with the pristine white tablecloths and silver for which The Ivy is renowned.

On a trip to the loo one cannot help but notice the quirky art – bugs found only in the Cotswolds – which contrasts well with the more elegant style elsewhere. The scent as you enter ‘The Powder Rooms’ is also noteworthy – an odd observation, yes, but it’s a beautiful fragrance which stays with you for days.

Sadly, I was driving so I was unable to sample one of the bespoke cocktails on the menu, which were classics with a twist. The mixologist looked impressive behind the circular bar and made myself and my companion a beautifully refreshing ‘passion fruit mocktail’ which was perfect during the heatwave.

The menu is extensive with a sophisticated slant on much-loved classics. Our waiter took great care in catering for my food allergies – a pescatarian who is allergic to chilli and pepper, I’m normally limited on options when dining out but the menu here provided five choices which was a rare treat.

My companion and I opted for the same starter and main - Atlantic sea scallops (£11.95) followed by crab linguine (£15.95).

The scallops were divine, with a smooth pea puree which was enhanced with a lemon zest tang, and you could tell they were fresh from Devon that day.

The crab linguine was also superb, with the touches of smoked garlic, lemon and rocket the perfect compliment. I was worried that the lack of chilli would affect the overall taste but the chef got the balance right with added courgette and lemon – delicious.

Even though we were both rather full, we managed to squeeze dessert in. After much social media hype I wanted to try the world famous ‘Ivy melting bombe’ and, as it was Wimbledon season, the dish had been to adapted to ‘The Centre Court Melting Bomb’ (£8.50) with white chocolate strawberries and shortbread. Quite simply, this is one of the best desserts I have ever had.

My companion, after much deliberation (I insisted she chose something different from me and, no, I wasn’t sharing), went for the lemon meringue Alaska (£7.25). The impressive presentation resembled a beehive and the flavours worked well with the lemon not being too over powering.

Overall the food was well executed in both flavour and presentation without being pretentious and the menu meets all tastes, dietary requirements and budgets – you can even opt for a whole lobster if you’re feeling fancy.

Afterwards, we each had a sencha jasmine tea, which was subtly sweet and highly fragrant and as good as any cuppa I drank during my time in China.

As you can see, The Ivy in Cheltenham lives up to the iconic brand’s reputation. Dining there is indeed very special.