Hey, Foodwala’s… Welcome to another tale of the trials and escapades of yours truly, Alfie Foodwala
Last week Rarri Foodwalee suggested I watch the much-lauded Top Boy on Netflix, This is the show that Drake loved so much that he collab with Netflix to produce the show, much like Victor Kiam and his Remington Shavers.
Basically the premise of the series is the trials and tribulations of Dushane and Jaime’s battle to become top boy in the world of recreational pharmaceuticals in the present prohibition era.
This got me reminiscing, in the ’70s and 80’s the Top Boy in the Indian restaurant scene was the Shish Mahal, everyday owners of the other restaurants in “Curry Ally” used to send out waiters to stand outside the Shish Mahal, when the Shish Mahal was full and the queue was formed the waiter from the Koh i Noor would run back to his restaurant and tell Uncle Russel that the overflow customers are coming, Mr. Russell would then tell the chefs
“Get ready Chaps…fire up the cookers the customers are coming”
When the Koh i Noor filled up the waiter from the Shalimar would run to Uncle Rehmat and tell them the customers are coming and Mr. Rehmat will cry…
“listen up Old Boys… the customers are coming so crank up the old cookers”
When the Shalimar filled up the last remaining waiter would amble down Park Road to the Taj Mahal and tell Momoo Tariq that the great unwashed would be descending soon and get his uncle the chef to heat up the pot of gravy, lamb, and chicken.
This battle for Top Boy has just heated up in Glasgow, The IVY has just opened in Buchanan Street and is vying for the Glaswegian nouveau riche pound also sought after by 29 on Royal exchange square, Anchor Line around the corner and Rogano close by, so you can just imagine shadowy figures standing outside the IVY waiting to see if it is busy.
We visited the IVY on a Thursday afternoon to celebrate Rarri Foodwala’s sweet 16th birthday and the Glasgow Instagram crowd was just getting started, fashionistas in their disposable Boohoo dresses and wannabe Top Boys were descending on the restaurant.
The IVY menu is wide-ranging Bistro style dining, from dishes ranging from Fish and Chips to Monkfish and Prawn curry.
We kicked off the proceedings with the famous IVY fish and chips, the Cod was smothered in the signature bubbly batter and was accompanied with thick-cut fries and mushy peas, the batter just as I
liked it, a cross between a crispy shell and soft interior and the pearly white cod flakes was cooked just right.
The Chicken Milanese was decadent, the Brioche crumb coated the buttermilk chicken breast and was topped with a fried egg and then showered with parmesan flakes and with a truffle cream jus.
The chicken was lovely and tender and the parmesan flakes gave it umami tasting note and when dipped into the Truffle Cream sauce, all three elements worked well together.
The oriental style sesame and soy marinade Cod was subtle in its tasting notes, It can easily be too sweet with a cloying aftertaste can be like a clingy friend, but this was cooked well and the Yuzu mayonnaise, The Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit like a tangerine and using that to flavour the mayonnaise was very creative.
We opted for dessert instead of starters so next up was the IVY signature dessert, Frozen berries with limoncello sorbet and topped with Hot White Chocolate, this was summed up in one word…WOW!!!!!!
The limoncello sorbet with the hot chocolate sauce and the berries was a taste sensation, the different textures, and temperatures played havoc with the old taste buds, but havoc in a fresh playful and zesty sensation, I would return to the IVY just for this magnificent dessert.
The classic Crème brûlée is such a simple dessert but can easily be a hit or miss affair, gladly the IVY Crème brûlée vanilla custard was creamy as it was dreamy and topped with a nice layer of caramalised sugar.
The IVY is a welcome addition to the Glasgow restaurant scene, however, the debate has started that the IVY in Edinburgh is more classy than the Glasgow one, but that’s the way Glasgow likes it, we are non-pretentious and definitely not like Edinburghs “fur coat and nae knickers”
The IVY looks splendid in its 1930’s theme cruise ship/Downton manor chic and it feels like the IVY has always been there.
The food in the IVY is bistro style and all the elements are presented in the correct manner, the service was cheerful and non-obtrusive.
However, in my humble opinion, it lacked a certain “je ne sais quoi” after all the IVY is just an upmarket chain restaurant and it was slightly clinical, it lacked owners personal touch, much like great car companies are started by obsessive individuals like Ferrari and Honda as opposed to large corporations like Toyota and Cadillac.
The frozen berries dessert was just sensational.
The IVY serves alcohol.
The Chicken was certified Halal by the management.