London's The Ivy unveil plans to open Edinburgh restaurant

It is one of the most prestigious names in British fine dining, frequented with generations of A-list stars from Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh through to Tom Cruise and Angelina Jolie.
The Ivy Restaurant in London. Picture: Getty ImagesThe Ivy Restaurant in London. Picture: Getty Images
The Ivy Restaurant in London. Picture: Getty Images

Now, The Ivy has announced it is to bring some of its stardust and critically acclaimed dishes to Scotland for the first time.

The restaurant group, a cornerstone of London’s theatre scene for the past century, has unveiled plans to open a new outlet in Edinburgh.

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The eatery, which will be known as The Ivy on The Square, will be situated in the capital’s highly-sought after St Andrew Square, an area which is quickly becoming popular with foodies.

Already, it is home to the likes of the Bombay brasserie, Dishoom, and the contemporary Milanese-style restaurant, Amarone.

But the arrival of The Ivy group represents a major boon for one of the best-known locations in the New Town and the Scottish fine dining scene in general.

In a statement, The Ivy Collection - which oversees a group of restaurants, brasseries, and cafes - said its Edinburgh restaurant would offer “approachable sophistication and luxury with an underlying feeling of glamour and theatre.”

Open seven days a week, the restaurant will have around 130 seats, as well as a bar and a mezzanine terrace. The kitchen will be overseen by Sean Burbidge, the executive chef at The Ivy Collection who used to be head chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Pétrus restaurant in London’s Knightsbridge area.

As well as a brasserie-style menu offering the likes of breakfast, elevenses, lunch, and afternoon tea, the restaurant group said its evening menus would be “affordable,” incorporating an “eclectic mix of British ingredients, comforting Ivy classics, and international dishes.”

Some of the fare being promised includes the Ivy’s take on shepherd’s pie and, for dessert, a chocolate bomb served with hot salted caramel sauce.

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While management at the original Ivy restaurant in London’s West Street - currently celebrating its centenary - has previously boasted of a three-month wait for lunch and up to six months for dinner, its Edinburgh counterpart will ensure people walking in off the street have a chance of service.

The group said it will hold back a number of tables throughout the day and evening, a policy it said reflects its “dedication to local restaurants for local diners.”

The Ivy’s ultimate owners, Caprice Holdings, have signed a 25 year lease with the investment group, Standard Life, which now owns the entire southside of St Andrew Square after a series of high-profile acquisitions. The Ivy on The Square will occupy a 5,500 square feet corner unit at the site.

David Stewart, fund manager of Standard Life Investments’ pooled property pension fund, said: “It’s a great boost to Edinburgh that The Ivy has committed to St Andrew Square for its first launch in Scotland.”

In 2010, The Ivy opened as an Edinburgh pop-up during the Festival for one day only, while Des McDonald, a former head chef at The Ivy, last year took over the kitchen at The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen in the city’s George Street.