The Ivy Brasserie in Cambridge is quickly becoming one of my favourite places to eat. Not only is the interior design absolutely gorgeous (and a constant source of inspiration for my new house), but the regular special menus add something new to the food scene in Cambridge. It's somewhere I always recommend if you are looking for something "traditionally British" like many visitors want to experience when they visit Cambridge, which isn't too pricey. This month, to celebrate Isaac Newton's birth month, the Ivy have a launched a "month of Inspiration" to celebrate this Cambridge icon and his history.
Isaac Newton is one of the most famous alumni of Cambridge, who studied at Trinity College and wrote his "Prinicipia Mathematica" during his time there. Trinity College lies just across the road from the Ivy and a cutting from the famous tree in Newton's mother's garden, which inspired his first thoughts on gravity, grows outside . The Ivy have embraced this apple theme with their special menu, dedicated cocktails and an "Inspiration Tree" where you can add your own quotes to the branches in the centre of the restaurant - oh and there's the chance to win prizes too!
As you walk into the restaurant, you are greeted by a giant tree - the Inspiration Tree. The huge branches trail across the walkway to the main restaurant, adorned with golden apples and note tags, tied with string. Some of the note tags are inscribed with hand written inspiration quotes, by famous writers or celebrities, and there is a small table with tags and pens so you can add your own. The interactive hub of inspiration is the perfect way to be greeted before experiencing the month of inspiration, inspired by Isaac Newton's birthday.
As part of the Newton celebrations, the Ivy Cambridge is offering a special "Inspiration Menu" from 11:30-6:30pm Monday to Friday until the 8th February. Two courses are £22, including a Newton inspired cocktail, or you can add another course for £5. I chose two courses and the non-alcoholic Newton cocktail - perfect for those who are driving or taking part in Dry January. The Seedlip Spicy Apple was created with Seedlip Spice, apple juice and star anise and the result is a spicy long drink, with a strong taste of cinnamon. I love the spice, so I enjoyed it, but it may be a little too much for some. As ever, the presentation was perfect and I love that the Ivy Cambridge are always developing their cocktail menu to offer more than traditional cocktails.
For my main, I chose the hoisin-glazed crispy duck leg, served with coriander mashed potatoes, greens and red wine sauce. It arrived steaming hot to the table and perfectly presented. It would have been great to see more apple throughout the menu, not just the cocktails, as I really loved this theme and it would have been fantastic to see how the chef could work apple throughout the courses too. However, my duck was delicious, fell off the bone and the red wine sauce was rich and packed full of flavour.
For dessert, I couldn't resist a bit of chocolate and chose the dark chocolate mousse with raspberries and a salted peanut caramel topping. Again it would have nice to see at least one apple themed dessert, but I will always be a fan of the classic chocolate and raspberries! The mousse was rich and smooth and the tart raspberries cut through the luxurious chocolate. We finished with some coffees, which were absolutely delicious and served impeccably by the staff, who were attentive and friendly throughout our meal. The service is really exceptional every time I visit the Ivy Cambridge and if you want to experience the Ivy but don't have time for a whole meal, I'd highly recommend popping in for a coffee or cocktail to soak up the atmosphere and opulent surroundings.
Finally, we were presented with a beautiful golden apple, which, when opened, revealed a card which could have a prize. Unfortunately it wasn't our lucky night but diners can win a huge variety of prizes, including dinner, afternoon tea or bottles of champagne, so it's another reason to dine there soon!
The "Month of Inspiration" runs until the 8th February and you can take a look at the Ivy Cambridge Inspiration Set Menu online.
I was invited to review The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie in exchange for this review.