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Wales: Date Night At The Ivy Cardiff

5 min read
Wales: Date Night At The Ivy Cardiff

We love our children of course but the ability to sit, eat at a relaxed pace and have an adult conversation is something we were desperate for. Especially following a turbulent year at ESLT HQ. Therefore, when we visited Mr ESLT’s mum and stepdad who live on the outskirts of Cardiff, we took the opportunity to leave the kids under their safe supervision and hot-foot it to the Capital. We had already decided to make a whole night of it – cocktails, wine and a delicious meal. As we hadn’t been out in so long, we needed to ensure the restaurant we chose we would like. Therefore we opted for one of our firm favourites. We have visited the Ivy in a number of cities around the UK and knew that a date night at the Ivy Cardiff was ideal for us.

Booking via OpenTable

We, therefore, booked our table via OpenTable. The process was quick and straightforward. We chose the date, time and location (in this case Cardiff) that we would like to book a table at together with the number of diners and voila – our table was booked. I received an email confirmation following the booking which contained an add-to calendar function. Now I’m sure I never would have forgotten this booking but I love having this option. Mr ESLT and I share a Google calendar containing every appointment, reservation and event for both the kids and us and seeing our booking in there amongst hospital appointments, work commitments and kid’s activities filled me with joy. I also received an email reminder of the booking the day before, as if I wasn’t counting down the days anyway.

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Location, Decor and Service at The Ivy Cardiff

Decor at The Ivy Cardiff
Bar at The Ivy Cardiff

The location of the Ivy in Cardiff could not be better. It is located slap bang in the city centre at 69/70 St David’s, St Davids Centre, Cardiff CF10 1GA. Therefore, making it a great place not only to have a date night but also to grab breakfast, brunch, lunch or even afternoon tea too. As there are plenty of bars in the local vicinity for a pre or post-meal tipple or two your visit to The Ivy can become part of a bigger experience in Cardiff which is exactly what we did.

The decor is fabulous. I’d sum it up as quirky but absolutely beautiful. With flowers and plants in abundance and walls adorned with artwork inspired by Wales and Cardiff’s history, local topography and heritage together with bold and colourful prints The Ivy certainly offers the wow factor. With comfortable leather banquettes and soft furnishings together with an impressive bar and even a DJ booth, this 260-seat restaurant is a visual delight and just visiting is an experience in itself.

But is it all style over substance? Absolutely not. From the second we walked in until the second we walked out the service offered by all at The Ivy was fabulous. We lead up the stairs to the bar area where we enjoyed a drink until our table was ready. We were then shown to our table before our drink and subsequent, food orders were taken. Everyone was polite and professional yet friendly and approachable. They made us feel like nothing would be too much trouble. Our wine was kept in a wine bucket away from our table but our attentive waitress never let our glasses run dry which when she was also looking after at least half a dozen (possibly more) tables was no mean feat.

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Food, Glorious Food (and Drink)

Cocktails at The Ivy Cardiff
Menu at The Ivy Cardiff

So the decor is great, the service is wonderful but what about the food? Well, let’s just say we left very full and very content. The contemporary British menu has never disappointed us on our previous visits to other branches of The Ivy; it didn’t on our date night at The Ivy Cardiff either. We started with cocktails – Candy Floss Fizz (Fairy floss and Prosecco complemented with Rose Petal syrup, lychee, ginger and Havana 3yr old Rum) for me and an espresso martini for Mr ESLT as it’s his go-to cocktail. Both were delightful and a great way to start our meal. Priced at around £12 each they are not the cheapest cocktails we have ever had but when you consider the service and surrounding that go along with them, they are worth the price.


Goat's Cheese and Courgette Tart at The Ivy Cardiff
Salt and Pepper Squid at The Ivy Cardiff

Me – Goat’s Cheese and Courgette Tart, articoke tapenade, mixed herbs and truffle crème fraîche sauce – £8.95

Mr ESLT – Salt and Pepper Squid, wasabi and miso mayonnaise, siracha, coriander and lime – £9.75

Main Courses

Fish at Chips at The Ivy Cardiff
Minute Steak at The Ivy Cardiff

Me – Fish and Chips. Traditional battered fillets served with mushy peas, Ivy cut chips and tartar sauce (although I swapped mine for ketchup) – £14.95

Mr ESLT – Minute steak. Grilled thinly-beaten steak with peppercorn sauce, onions, Ivy cut chips and watercress – £17.95


Me – Chocolate Bombe. melting chocolate bombe with a vanilla ice cream, honeycomb centre and hot salted caramel sauce – £9.50

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Mr ESLT – Ice creams and sorbets. Selection of dairy ice creams and fruit sorbets with butter shortbread. Mr ESLT chose vanilla and chocolate ice cream and lemon sorbet – £6.00


Our meal came to a grand total of £179.27 – this was for a three-course meal each, one cocktail each, a bottle of water and two bottles of wine. It was also inclusive of the service charge which is automatically added to the bill. It is safe to say we are not in the habit of dropping the best part of £200 on a meal on a regular basis but when we do we want to know we are going to enjoy it and that is why we more often than not choose the Ivy. In fact, we have already booked the Ivy in Leeds for our next big date night (my belated birthday celebrations).

Great food, great service, great atmosphere and not having to tell my kids to sit down and eat every five seconds – bliss!

  • Sponsored Post in conjunction with OpenTable – words, photos, opinions and appetites our own.

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