The Ivy Castle View
I ate, I drank, I started writing. The first review evaaaahhh of brand spanking new The Ivy Castle View – only on Muddy.
Well, hello Guildford Castle! Could there be a more perfect spot for The Ivy’s brasserie outpost overlooking the beautiful gardens and castle? This elegant, well-heeled town has just become home to the Tunsgate Quarter shopping centre, and the restaurant is part of it. Entry to the restaurant is in a lift from inside the shopping centre. The Ivy’s neighbours here are Loaf, Bobbi Brown, Cath Kidston, Lululemon, The White Company and Oka, among others.
Very lively and buzzy. It’s a really cool space – with a large terrace balcony wrapping around two sides. Our table by the window was perfectly placed to make the most of the glorious spring sunshine and the beautiful gardens that surround Guildford Castle. There’s an elegant island bar at the back, which moves to a mix of banquette seating and velvet-chaired loungey tables.
The interiors could sit very easily in London – it’s definitely a slick, glamorous vibe they’re going for and I think they’ve hit it. I absolutely loved the art too, really vibrant, deco-ish and uplifting.
Though it was very good, I’d argue that the food isn’t the star of this show – it really is about the energy and vibe of the place. We’re in a brasserie and therefore the choices are fairly mainstream – along with the more interesting options of blackened cod fillet in banana leaf or aromatic duck curry you can order hamburgers, fish and chips or steak.
We started with something from the snack menu – the zucchini fritti and truffle arancini – expecting a little taster while we decided on our mains. But check out these babies … they’re almost a meal in themselves.
Moving on to starters, I went the way of the ocean with Atlantic sea scallops served on a pea puree with broad beans, lemon zest, sea cress and crispy shallots. What can I say apart from delicious.
Mr Muds opted for the soft goat’s cheese salad, which – having snaffled a little taste – I’d totally recommend. The goat’s cheese came served in Belgian endive, that slightly bitter leaf, alongside shaved apple and golden raisins, pickled walnuts and hazlenuts.
Moving on to mains, I ordered the whole baked seabass with baby plum tomatoes, fennel, olives and a caper and shallot dressing. I love fish. and as my dad was a keen fisherman and we went often when I was a kid, I’m not at all bothered by heads and tails so mine came with both, although the head was a obscured by the salad. If you’d rather see no sign of a former life, the chef will happily remove both. If you’re a fan of fish, this was superb.
Mr Muds also went for fish, opting for the yellowfin tuna which was seared (so basically raw) with a salad of shaved fennel, edamame and cucumber, and a wasabi mouse. It looked amazing.
Dessert – for me the baked apple tart with vanilla ice cream and Calvados flambé – looked beautiful and served with a flourish, the sauce poured around the dessert and set alight by the waiter. Delicious. And for Mr Muds, it was the melting chocolate bombe with a vanilla ice cream and honeycomb centre with hot salted caramel sauce – another bit of table theatrics which all adds to the experience.
I’d say so, yes. It definitely has a chi-chi thing going on. Maybe you’d think twice with very small children but mainly because you won’t want the little buggers spoiling your fun!
OUT AND ABOUT
Guildford is a shoppers paradise, and as The Ivy is set within the new Tunsgate Quarter you don’t have to go far to find a good bit of retail therapy. It’s position overlooking Guildford Castle also makes it ideal for a pre or post stroll through the gardens.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Anyone looking for an urbane, more London buzzy vibe that doesn’t cost the earth.
Not for: Who doesn’t love The Ivy, eh? Although super-superfoodies might want to head to the Michelin-starred Clock House in Ripley.
The damage: Surprisingly reasonable. Most entrees £7-10, mains are around the £14-16 mark, desserts £6-8. There’s also a good value two course lunch and early evening menu offering two courses for £16.50 or three for £21.