Offering a mix of British comfort food, international dishes and delicious drinks, The Ivy St Helen’s Square has created an outstanding menu complimented by an even more breathtaking location. Our Sales Executive Asha Northway and partner went down to the Ivy to see what they had in store.
Situated in the heart of York, the Ivy St Helen’s Square lies in one of the most historic towns in the UK. Relaxed, ambient and coming with a guaranteed touch of class, the venue is perfect for those looking to escape the pressures of everyday life. The menus range from morning until night, with breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea all on offer. There is also the opportunity to tuck into light bites or the popular weekend brunch option, ensuring there is something for everyone.
Upon our visit to York, searching for a place to dine with a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere was of paramount importance to us. The Ivy St Helen’s Square was both spacious and clean, seemingly doing all it could to feel like home. The staff were smartly dressed and addressed us only when necessary, which was something me and my partner were very appreciative of. Prompt, efficient and not hovering around invading our personal space, we could not have asked any more of the staff that were present on the day. Staff were not to be seen unless clearing or serving, but the minute their services were required they were on hand.
Before we even began to consider the menu, we noticed the soft music playing in the background, making for a tranquil environment. The music could be heard well enough, but more importantly meant we could hear one another at all times. Other small things caught the imagination too, for example, the dimmed lights adding to the mood, ensuring the room was vibrant, however, still lit efficiently. The atmosphere felt warm and welcoming, with the seating laid out in half-booth styles. Decorations around the area were vintage, not too dissimilar to that of the 1950s – all making for an ideal dining environment.
The Ivy St Helen’s Square prioritised giving everyone the same treatment and it was clear customer service was a priority for all the staff. This was also apparent when we moved onto selecting our food. All grounds were covered whilst we were ordering, ensuring that what we wanted was tailored exactly to our needs, another thing we picked up on and appreciated.
After much deliberation, the starters we opted for were sourdough bread with salted butter and smoked salmon. The sourdough was flavourful and light, a very nice way to begin. The salmon was also of high quality, fresh and worked well with the rye bread and lemon. The fish was smoked to make a real impact, a technique we both believed worked well.
As for the main course, we both opted for the popular sirloin and fillet steak, a decision we were not to regret! Cooked medium rare, the texture of the meat was exactly what we asked for, and came packed with taste. The steaks were served with a healthy side of chips which also tasted delicious, largely down to the added parmesan and seasoning. Completing the dish were both peas and sugar snap peas, a combination which was a great mix of two surprisingly different soft and crunchy textures. The experience even came with a crumb-catching device, set in place to clear all residue after each course, meaning the table was left clean. The venue was spotless from top to bottom, and it became clear staff took great pride in keeping the place in prime condition. This ranged from the entrance hallway all the way to the toilets.
Before we left, we were eager to try out the desserts with there being so many to choose from. We went for the chocolate bombe, ice cream and sorbets, all of which lived up their breathtaking descriptions as advertised on the menu. The chocolate bombe stimulated the senses, without being too rich and empowering, whilst the sorbets acted as a great palate cleanser. Choices included passion fruit, mango and lemon, with the sorbets served with a finger of shortbread.
The Ivy St Helen’s Square’s friendly environment also allowed us to feel comfortable sitting in after our meal, and not feel pressured to move on allowing more guests through the doors. Whether we were to have another drink or remain sat for a while, the nature of the staff made us feel welcomed from the word go. The open-plan design with a beautifully thought-out dark colour scheme felt very cosy, however, big windows allowed more than enough natural light to beam in.
The train station in York is just a stone’s throw away making it very accessible for those travelling from further afield. Parking is also available just a short walk away. There is a relaxed smart casual dress code, but nothing too strict allowing customers to dine in what they are most comfortable in.
Upon reflection, there is little more we could have asked for from everyone at the Ivy St Helen’s Square. Executive Chef Sean Burbidge has compiled a breathtaking menu, complimented by an excellent hardworking team around him. Operating with polite and efficient staff, and charging good prices for the guaranteed quality that they deliver, this restaurant stands out from the rest.
For further details on the venue, visit www.theivyyork.com, or call in at 2 St. Helen’s Square, York, YO1 8QP.