The buzz around the opening of The Ivy Cafe, Blackheath, has been building for some time, and finally, opening day is in sight – Wednesday 31 January 2018
While The Ivy Cafe has ventured south of the river already – to Wimbledon and Richmond – it’s a first for south east London. And Blackheath is a perfect fit, since the brand seeks out ‘neighbourhoods known for their chic village-style environs’ for its informal-yet-stylish all-day dining outposts.
Taking over from the beloved Chapters – an old favourite of ours and, well, everybody’s – The Ivy Cafe has big shoes to fill. But Christian Lacarte, General Manager at The Ivy Cafe Blackheath, assures me that the team is up to the challenge:
‘We know that Chapters had very high standards so, sure, we feel the pressure to maintain that level, but that’s no bad thing. We’re committed to delivering our excellent standards and we’ve had a very warm welcome from our neighbouring businesses.’
‘The aim for The Ivy Cafe, Blackheath is to add to the local area,’ he continues. ‘We’re excited to get to know the community, the locals and what’s going on here. We’ve been told that there are a few nights of the year when the area gets really busy, like Blackheath Fireworks, and we’re looking forward to being part of that.’
Christian certainly has the credentials to back up his quiet confidence, with 12 years’ experience in the industry working with the likes of Grand Luxe Hotel Juan Carlos, The Kensington Hotel (part of The Doyle Collection) and the American Bar.
We’re excited to get to know the community, the locals and what’s going on here, like Blackheath Fireworks, when the area gets really busy
The menu will offer everything from cream teas to cocktails, so do call in for a quick bite or linger over breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner. It’s a mix of modern British classics and European-inspired dishes, so you’ll find signature dishes like the shepherd’s pie, made with slow-braised lamb shoulder with beef and Wookey Hole Cheddar potato mash, plus Christian’s personal favourite, the brioche-crumbed chicken Milanese with fried egg and black truffle mayonnaise.
I can also highly recommend the blackened cod fillet baked in a banana leaf with baby pak choi, toasted sesame and yuzu mayonnaise, which I devoured on a recent trip to The Ivy Tower Bridge, one of The Ivy’s Grills and Brasseries offerings.
— The Guide Resident (@theguidemag) January 19, 2018
The Head Chef, Lasitha Rathnayaka, lives nearby in Catford. He worked his way up through the Sri Lankan hospitality industry and since moving to the UK has added the likes of the Marriott Park Lane, the Malmaison, Skylon, German Gymnasium and Hotel du Vin in Wimbledon to his CV.
‘He knows the London scene and he’s a very talented chef, so I’m looking forward to working with him,’ says Christian.
The interiors are a delight. Crafted by the critically-acclaimed Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, it looks every inch a member of The Ivy family – gleaming aged mirrors reflect the light pouring in from the eastern edge of the Heath, and elegant light fittings, lush greenery and bespoke artworks reflect the area’s heritage, from graphic prints depicting Blackheath Fireworks and flying kites to old drawings of roaming deer, The Ranger’s House and Morden College.
Call in for a cocktail at the bar and you’ll be transported to the glamour of the West End without having to set foot in train or taxi.
And roll on summer – out front there is a Parisian-style terrace with seating for around 20 people, and the windows have been designed to fold back to let the warm breeze (fingers crossed!) drift inside from across the Heath.
The Ivy Cafe, Blackheath opens on 31 January 2018 at 16-18 Montpelier Vale, Blackheath SE3 0TA. See theivycafeblackheath.com