Early evening on a cold January evening – stormy, wet, lots of slow moving traffic to get there, family drama just as we were about to set off for a long awaited treat – I arrived at The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie Cheltenham feeling fraught! The family drama and traffic meant that we arrived a little late for our booking but a quick phone call on the way to let the friendly staff know sorted that one out!
The Ivy was warm and welcoming – a lovely ambience created by lots of greenery and clever lighting, enhanced by the efficient and pleasantly polite staff. I started to relax.
The Ivy prices are beyond our usual budget but a generous gift voucher from our daughter facilitated our visit with two very good friends, whose conversation and company is always stimulating. We went for the set menu – 3 courses for £21 – a limited but adequate choice. We all felt that the food was beautifully presented and more importantly, very tasty. We had to order side dishes of vegetables and carbohydrate to ensure that we had our 5 a day and felt full which pushed the price up, but again everything was well prepared and fresh. We ordered the house wine (the cheapest – sorry to be appear money aware but we are on a tight budget!) and this was very nice. Conversation flowed, food arrived in a timely manner, the waitresses warm and helpful, there was no sense of being rushed despite a warning on the website that tables for four are only available for 2 hours (we were there for 3 hours) The restaurant filled up while we were there and there was a nice buzzy atmosphere.
Despite the tense start to the evening The Ivy provided what I needed for a special evening. The only down point was when I realised I had paid the bill but had no cash to leave a tip for our lovely waitresses – but when I looked at the bill a discretionary 12.5% service charge had been added automatically – I only hope that the individuals doing the actual work benefit!