Akin to the opening of the voting lines for Dancing with the Stars, or the X Factor, this morning a big, green, ivy-clad double-decker bus was spied in Dublin’s city centre proudly announcing that the reservations lines for the soon-to-open Ivy Restaurant on Dawson Street were operational, poised and ready for business. In other restaurants’ cases, this might be seen as a statement of over-confidence (it’s a brasserie, goddammit, not the Papal visit), but given the heritage, popularity and sparkle associated with the mothership Ivy restaurant in London, this is, indeed, a Big Deal.
The original Ivy is situated in the heart of London’s theatreland. Packed with history (it’s been there since 1917), it’s where actors and movie stars have their careers made or broken, where deals are struck, where media moguls mogul, and where Louis Walsh, Sharon Osborne and Simon Cowell can often be found after a heavy evening of X Factoring.
The Ivy community are either famous or infamous, dining on the signature Shepherds Pie and sipping pink champagne from Bacarat crystal coups, beneath art works by Damien Hurst and Peter Blake. “We work hard to make people feel good,” says Fernando Peire, legendary Ivy Maitre’d and now ambassador/director of The Ivy Group. “We’re not famous for nothing.” And it’s this Ivy magic that trickles in to the large site on the corner of Dawson Street and Molesworth Street, Dublin 2, later this month.
This is the 27th brasserie in the Ivy Collection; the first outside the UK. “If The Ivy is the Armani collection, this restaurant is from [Emporio] the diffusion brand” Fernando explains; it offers all the handwriting of the Ivy signature, in a way that can be served to over 200 diners simultaneously, in different (but similar) restaurants at multiple locations. So, yes, the same Shepherds Pie is on the menu, as are other Ivy stalwarts like the duck salad, the truffle-stuffed half chicken, and the Thai baked seabass.
The Ivy Dublin will be open all hours, to all people, for whatever they may fancy. Breakfast? Check. Coffee and pastries? Yep. A working lunch? Most certainly. A celebratory girls dinner for 36 in the private dining room with magnums of Whispering Angel rose? Absolutely. There’s also a 40-seater terrace that will welcome humans and their furry friends, a bar with 24 high chairs to dine at, and while the aforementioned reservations line will take bookings, the restaurant will accommodate walk-ins too. It’s where everyone will know your name.
And whilst waiting for your food, you can feast your eyes on a ‘rogues gallery’ of portraits taken by Barry McCall featuring some very familiar Irish faces. At the helm of The Ivy Dublin is Jamie Belton, a face very familiar to Dublin diners over the past decade, who’ve got to know him at Residence, Pearl, Fire in The Mansion House and with Dylan McGrath’s various restaurants.
Along with the seasons, the huge menu changes four times annually and will include plenty of locally-sourced produce (take that, Brexit), from Irish smoked salmon and Dungarvan oysters to Irish whiskey in the legendary Ivy steak tartare. A touch that will prove popular is that 50% of the menu is priced at under €20.
The Ivy Dublin opens at 13-17 Dawson Street in mid-July. Reservations 01 695 0744; theivydublin.com