Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Ivy House is back in business....


I noticed that my old favourite pub in Tonbridge, The Ivy House, has now reopened after several months of being refurbished. I also noticed that they've given it a new name for the 21st Century. It now officially the Ivy House Dining Room and Bar; they've taken down the old pub signs and replaced them with some very dull looking ones. I know that it has to attract people with money and serve food and have an outdoor lounge, cos that's what customers expect these day; and I know that they are a commercial concern and have to make a profit but, oh, I do hope it hasn't lost its old and wonderfully seedy atmosphere. I may just have to toddle on down there later on this evening to find out!...

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is that an old photo or new one as I can the old sign in place. I hope they have retained that.

Graham said...

So, what was it like?

Anonymous said...

OK come on tell all. Was it a good experience?

cowgirlbex said...

We went there last Saturday and I can't decide what I think! The name is now "Ivy House Dining and Bar" and it definately is more dining than bar - there are tables in both bars laid out for food so there was a bit of confusion from people coming in just to drink as to where they should stand. They need to sort that out pronto and probably make the main bar dining and the smaller bar (with the fireplace) mainly for drinking with food if you fancy it. We didn't eat but the menu looked delicious - loads of local food, slightly pricey but the food did look worth it and I heard one of the staff saying that they were going to introduce lunchtime offers. The new owners own a few pubs - in Ramsgate, Sandwich and The Dog Inn which I've driven past on the way back from Sandwich in a small village. They all look really good so I think that bodes well.

They have really freshened up the decoration, lighter walls and generally cleaner (although they've done nothing with the loos, which is dissapointing). But, on the negatives, it has lost that cosy-pub feeling to it which is a real shame. I think they can bring some of this back if they make the bar a bar - they have some sofas in there which is a move in the right direction.

Drinks on offer were the same Harveys as before, Summer Lightning and some lagers. Shame they don't appear to have gone for local beers, ciders or wines. Hopefully they'll rethink that.

It is good that the Ivy House has been saved and it never seemed to fully reach its potential before, I was always slightly dissapointed when I went in there. I think I'll reserve my final judgement of the new place though until they get everything settled in.

Interested to hear what other people think though.

Anonymous said...

Does Cowgirlbex do promtion for the place. Not sure whether I like the idea of The Ivy simply becoming a dining experience - bit sad really. Well, that's progress.

Anonymous said...

glad it's open again, popped in with some friends last week looking for a quick bite to eat but left again quickly as didn't really want to pay £15+ for a main course. Be nice for a treat though when feeling a little more flush ...

Tonbridge blogger said...

I still haven't been there and it's only a stones throw away from my bookshop. I'll have to put that right soon; so thanks for the comments and keep them coming....

Paul Bailey said...

Haven't been in there myself yet, but have heard mixed reviews from a couple of friends who have.

Like all you correspondents am pleased that the Ivy has finally re-opened, although I'm not certain I like the idea of it being more of a restaurant thna a pub. Will reserve judgement though until I have visited it myself.

Anonymous said...

I'm so pleased it has re opened, I went in there last week for a nose and it's so much cleaner then before. Let's all face facts, the place was a dive before and sometimes seemed intimidating with the local lads drinking in there. We have loads of places to drink in Tonbridge so another watering hole would of been more than welcome but I think The Ivy House offers a brand new theme of class that was lacking.

I will be interested in seeing the lunch menu when/if it arrives, I hope it's not the boring pub grub that is on offer in every town but by the looks of the resturant menu I'm sure it won't be.

Let's embrace the touch of class the Ivy House now brings to our pretty town and move with the times instead of living in the past. I wish the new owners the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Have only just moved to Tonbridge so i cannot comment on how the place was before the reopening, but i must say The Ivy House is and for the foreseable future will be where i take my family/friends for dinner or an evening drink! Great interior, excellent food (the lamb was simply divine) and friendly service, the manager or owner (not sure which) seems very young but what he lacks in age he seems to make up for in enthusiasm, all in all its the one thing which when my wife and i were looking into the area we felt Tonbridge lacked compared to other towns, good luck to them i say, i will be back for sure!

Anonymous said...

mhhh - Lots of Anonymous here including me. I think we have an inside mole from the aforementioned Ivy House amongst us. Too much information is the clue.
btw I loved the Ivy House the way it was. Sorry folks. There are far too many restaurants and bars and cafes in Tonbridge. A nice olde world pub was refreshing in this crazy whilrwind.

Anonymous said...

mhhh - I find it slightly narrow minded that just because people seem to honestly like the place and a few others don't agree it ends in slightly offensive remarks about there being an 'inside mole'. My remarks are real -fact, it's great now and it used to be a shit hole - fact.

AmyKent said...

I had never stepped foot inside the Ivy House until last weekend and from what I understand it used to be a bit of a grot hole. Whatever its old reputation was, the place is looking pretty smart these days and the food was amazing. It’s a bit like having The Chaser (Shipbourne) in central Tonbridge. It is definitely more of an eatery than a pub but that’s no bad thing in my book! Definitely worth popping in Tonbridge Blogger and try the squid starter!!!

andys-pens said...

Thought we would let you know. If you walk about 300 yards down Hadlow Road past the Ivy house there is a row of three closed down shops named Tollgate Buildings. We are just about to start up business in number 8. It will be called Andy's Pens and we will be selling Vintage and Modern Writing Instruments. We have been trading on-line for a number of years and have decided to expand. If you would like to see what we have on offer please take a look at www.andys-pens.co.uk. We hope to open some time in July so keep a look out if you are passing by.

delia said...

I've had a look and wish you all the luck. Welcome on board.

andys-pens said...

Thanks Delia. We collected the keys today and I will be there tomorrow cleaning and preparing for the all the people who have jobs to do next week. The sign should go in the window on Monday I think. Digger our dog came with us today and alot of people noticed him in the window.

pablo fernández said...

I'm unclear what Tonbridge needs most. A good eatery- as opposed to fast-food places or a good pub as opposed to the corporate chains. I noticed the new sign for The Ivy House - now rebranded theivy.com or something similar. Not a bad makeover, food looked good (although I didn't eat there).Question is will the old Ivy crowd choose to drink there, maybe. I hope it's a success.

Anonymous said...

The Ivy House in Tonbridge used to be a dirty run down pub with very little going for it. Since the new proprietors have taken over they have improved the appearance of the pub, the cleanliness and the quality of the food by a country mile.The new & improved Ivy House is certainly what Tonbridge needed and may be the answer to putting the town on the culinary map.I ate there last week and the food was exceptional,the squid starter is a must try and the Lamb Rump with Dauphinoise potato was cooked to perfection.
Well done to the owners who have hands down made the pub into a respectable dining experience and will surely gain high status and awards to go with it!

Lucy P said...

Well I went in there on Saturday for lunch with my husband and baby-(she didn't eat!) and I was V impressed. The food really was lovely, freshly cooked and very tasty- and quite reasonable (9.50 for two courses). We have just moved down here from London, so maybe my idea of reasonably priced is a bit different from here!
But I really would reccomend it if you appreciate good food- to keep any business open in these troubled times means that you have to encorage people to come to tonbridge- old school grotty old boys pubs are not going to bring young proffessionals and young familys to Tonbridge - if I hadn't discovered the ivy house I would have my nights out in Tun Wells or Sevenoaks- so maybe we should all show a bit of support rather than scoffing at it!

Anonymous said...

In our party of four, three of the starters were good, but the fourth, curried samosas, were overcooked and tasteless. Two of us chose the fish pie, but this too was overcooked, with burnt pastry and the filling totally dry and inedible. They offered to cook these again 'fresh' which means to me that they had been made the day before and warmed up. The chef then said it was not his fault. We chose alternative ribeye steaks which were delicious. Won't go back, although the service was excellent.

Anonymous said...

I had actually gone along with my old Ivy House guys and declared this place one to avoid. But the missus insisted on trying it out once for a meal for her birthday, i feel bad in saying this but it was bloody good! It hurts me to say but you dont get food like that in tonbridge! Your ok by me!

Anonymous said...

I'd recommend anyone to check out tripadvisor reviews about this guys other restaurants before you go there: The Blazing Donkey in Ham, The Dog Inn in Wingham and Harvey's Fish Restaurant in Ramsgate. I wouldn't recommend any of those. See for yourself.

Anonymous said...

I always post comments on the web after i have been to a new place to eat, and 80% of the time i find faults, apart from here and my local in T Wells, what a lovely little pub, food was seriously tasty, service was friendly and unobtrusive, and my biggest hang up, the wine! The house white was crisp, dry and complemetary of our great fish starters, I dont normally say this but im a tad jealous of Tonbridge for this place!