Words Susie Smyth


There was a definite frisson of excitement in the air when The Ivy Marlow Garden opened its doors last May in the busy riverside town where locals are already spoiled for choice when it comes to top-notch eateries.  Now well and truly bedded into the heart of Marlow High Street, The Ivy Marlow Garden on a freezing Friday evening in February offers up a glamorous, buzzing vibe from the moment you step into the cavernous space where well over 100 covers are comfortably accommodated.   


The décor is cool and arty, with a vast, elegant curved bar and dining area leading through to a mix of banquette seating, dining tables with vibrant seats in orange and yellow and, right at the far end, the garden room where a beautiful ceiling light presides over an airy conservatory-type dining room with sumptuous cushions and heaters that pump out a steady stream of warmth.  The entire venue is punctuated throughout with an array of quirky, contemporary artworks reminiscent of the group’s iconic Covent Garden restaurant – even the garden is beautifully designed and is sure to be a highly coveted lunchtime destination this Summer. 


Overall, the first impression as we take our seats is one of an artful blend of sophisticated, polished luxury that’s also casual and relaxed.  With a glass of Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose in my hand and a refreshing Ivy G&T for Rory, it was time to take in the menu. The A La Carte offers an overwhelming choice of dishes covering every possible element of all day dining and is a true reflection of the Brasserie’s desire to be an ‘all encompassing, contemporary British venue for breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, light snacks, cocktails and dinner’. 


There’s surely something to suit all tastes – with starters ranging from staple classics such as Oak Smoked Salmon to my heavenly Crispy Duck Salad with five spice dressing, toasted cashews, watermelon, beansprouts, coriander and ginger which alone was worth the visit.  It was a truly delicious medley of oriental flavour with a satisfyingly crunchy texture and a pop of refreshing sweetness.  Rory’s Atlantic Sea Scallops with Truffle risoni, shaved Parmesan, black truffle and sweet potato crisps were equally as delicious – fat, juicy scallops perfectly balanced with the delicate flavour of truffles and a contrasting crunch of sweet potato. 


Mains, sides and sauces offered the same dazzling choice – from comfort classics such as the signature Marlow Garden Shepherd’s Pie, Salmon and Smoked Haddock Fish Cake to the tempting Yellowfin Tuna (next time, for sure!), Aromatic Duck Curry and Crab Linguine.  On the recommendation of our charming waiter, Adrian, I chose the Simply Grilled fish of the day – a delicious Halibut steak – served with a rich buttery sauce and complemented by side dishes of Baked sweet potato, yoghurt and kale pesto and Creamed spinach, toasted pinenuts and Gran Moravia.  Rory chose the grass-fed English fillet with a full-bodied red wine and rosemary sauce, and declared it a superb, succulent, beautifully cooked steak. 

Service was excellent with smartly dressed, white-aproned waiting staff – Adrian was attentive and happy to recommend wines for each course, and every one was perfectly paired and delicious.  Between us, Rory and I enjoyed an elegant Pinot Noir, a light-bodied Soave, the palest pink quintessential Provence Minuity Prestige Rose, a ripe and juicy Plaisir de Chateau Siaurac and finally, a gently effervescent, sweet but not syrupy Moscato d’Asti to complement our desserts.   


Ah yes – the desserts.  You’ll find a satisfying selection of classic sweet treats to round off your meal – a renowned Crème Brulee, a melting Chocolate Bombe or the usual selection of Ice creams and sorbets.  My Flourless Cappuccino Cake with milk mousse and coffee sauce was rich and velvety, while Rory’s Apple Tart Fine was perfection and served with a theatrical flourish of flaming brandy – a nice touch at the end of a relaxed and enjoyable evening. 


TLB VERDICT: Marlow may well be packed with a fine selection of well-loved eateries, but there’s always room for one more and The Ivy Marlow Garden seems suitably set to take its place among the best.   

66-68 High Street, Marlow 

01638 902777