A Quick Family Round-Up and a Restaurant Review: The Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells


It’s been a pretty horrid time of year, as I believe any time of year that isn’t dappled with sunshine and warmth normally is. We’ve been hit with one cold or bug after another since forever which, when taking into account each needs to work its way through so many people, means it’s never a quick thing to get out of the way.

Then a ‘hardware’ issue with our web hosts brought us to our knees work-wise, with business taking a huge hit. This has not been fun to deal with, and deal with it ourselves we must, as 123-reg are bloody awful and refuse to take any accountability for messing up both the websites and their backups they are paid to be responsible for. Any host recommendations, anyone?

Then I dropped my phone down the loo and completely killed it. I had to borrow an old phone for a while, one which didn’t have a very good camera – hence the quality of these photos. Sorry in advance about that. Less than a week later my laptop displayed the blue screen of death before taking its final digital breath.

Anyway, the four middle boys have joined up with the Sea Cadets and, after spending the first few months of the year in training, are about to become fully fledged cadets in a week’s time. Boy, how they seem to have grown!


Sullivan boys sea cadets

Between sickness, clubs and the obligatory annual visit to the opticians (and three more children needing glasses), Mike and I were grateful to enjoy an evening out at The Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells in an attempt to destress and, well, pretty much just enjoy good food.

The restaurant opened in Royal Tunbridge Wells only last November. It sits a few minutes along from the Pantiles Georgian colonnade, with neighbours such as Farrow & Ball and Cath Kidston to keep it company within its historical location.

Open all day from morning until night, the restaurant serves everything from breakfast and brunch to afternoon tea to dinner and cocktails. Art deco walls complement the comfortable but smart decor, complete with a large bar that sweeps around from the front along to the rear of the restaurant.


Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells - Interior Bar_preview


The restaurant was already extremely busy when we arrived half an hour early for our reservation and were immediately shown to our table.


The Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells - Interiors (7)_preview


Despite having already checked out the menu on their website several times that day, I was still undecided as to what to order. Should it be pasta? Should it be fish? Perhaps a glass of champagne would help me to decide a little quicker…


the ivy champagne


Or perhaps not. The truth is, everything sounded delicious and my tummy was rumbling so hard that the likelihood that I would be able to consume it all without much effort was high.

What’s that you say? Perhaps wine might help…? It is surely worth a try, I suppose. Thank you for the suggestion.


the ivy wine


Eventually, I decided to opt for the Crispy Duck Salad. The menu described it as ‘Warm crispy duck with a five spice dressing, toasted cashews, watermelon, beansprouts, coriander and ginger’. I described it as ‘Oh my goodness! This is so good!’


crispy duck salad the ivy


I know, the photo simply does not do this justice. I was quite surprised at how the watermelon, which is not something that I would normally have thought to combine with crispy duck and cashews, brought the flavour together, but it worked impressively well.

Mike, meanwhile, opted for the Wasabi Prawns, a serving of crunchy prawns and squid with wasabi mayonnaise and miso sauce.


wasabi prawns ivy


In hindsight, I should probably have ordered dishes that were light and easy to photograph, as ordering the Yellowfin Tuna was incredibly tasty but oh so difficult to take a picture of. If a seared tuna salad with shaved fennel, edamame and cucumber, wasabi mousse and daikon cress sounds good, you can bet that it tasted even better. Apparently, this was one of several dishes that were introduced to the menu just a week before. For that, I am ever grateful.

Here is a picture of Mike’s Crab Linguine main complete with claws…

crab linguine ivy


…and tasting equally as delicious.

Don’t you just laugh when the waiter asks if you have room for desserts? I mean, who doesn’t? As the kids put it, ‘I’m full for dinner but I’m not full for pudding.’ Isn’t there always room for dessert? Especially when it’s a mouthwatering chocolate bombe or creamy vanilla ice cream melting temptingly upon a warm apple pie?


apple pie ivy


Room for dessert? Ha!

Oh, perhaps I should add that we had one dessert each. Whilst I very possibly could have eaten both, I restrained myself.

So what is our verdict? Well, the restaurant itself is warm and inviting. I love how it combined the practicality of comfort with a stylish and smart design.

The service was second to none. From our greeting at the main door to the table service, everyone we spoke to was courteous, polite and more than happy to answer any questions or provide recommendations.

Finally, the food. I would love to try out the breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas because, if they are anything like the evening meal, I shall be very happy indeed. The menu caters for those who prefer something traditional and familiar as well as those eager to try something a little more adventurous. To say there is something for everyone is not an understatement. This is definitely somewhere we would revisit and certainly somewhere we would recommend dining, especially if we were seeking a grown-up evening out.


For more information about The Ivy Tunbridge Wells, including a look at the latest menus and their visit their website here. You can book a table online or by phoning 01892 240 700. 

You can also follow The Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells on Twitter at @IvyTunbridge and on Instagram at @IvyTunbridgeWells too.


Thank you to The Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells who provided us with our exceptional evening meal for the purpose of this review. 

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