The Ivy Brasserie Winchester welcomes back diners

The Ivy Brasserie Winchester is open for business credit Paul Winch-Furness

The Ivy Brasserie Winchester is open for business credit Paul Winch-Furness - Credit: Archant

Is dining out what it was before lockdown? We visited The Ivy Brasserie in Winchester to find out

The menus are wiped down between guests

The menus are wiped down between guests - Credit: Archant

Following the recent restrictions being lifted on pubs and restaurants, we were delighted to be invited back to The Ivy Brasserie in Winchester for a special post-lockdown lunch recently.

After cooking 309 (yes I am sad enough to have worked it out) breakfasts, lunches and dinners with only the odd takeaway dotted throughout, being waited upon and served food was a surreal yet wonderful concept.

Arriving at the door, the usual warm welcome was still firmly in place and after a quick temperature check whereby we were described as ‘perfect’ in a very Mary Poppins way, we were able to enjoy a pre-drink outside while our table was prepared.

Any social distancing worries dissipated as we sipped on a glass of The Ivy signature champagne and watched the usual two-ing and fro-ing along Winchester High Street. It all felt very...normal, and it was refreshing to see people out and about, not being deterred by Covid-19’s threatening grip on society. Tables were well-spaced and there was plenty of room and shelter from the weather under the now iconic awning.

The Duck Salad was a taste explosion after months of home-cooked meals

The Duck Salad was a taste explosion after months of home-cooked meals - Credit: Archant

Once inside, we could see that clear plastic screens had been placed between the booth seating to separate diners, but they were unimposing and blended in to their brightly coloured environment seamlessly. A hand-sanitising spritz on the table was bought to our attention by the waitress, a welcome change from the smothering nature of the gels we’ve all become accustomed to, and a menu was delivered which we were told was wiped down between each customer with an antibacterial spray. So good.

Any impact from the pandemic certainly hasn’t made its way in to the kitchen at The Ivy Brasserie, the three-course lunch was perfect. Starters of Smoked Salmon and Crispy Duck Salad went down a storm, followed by the Sirloin and Roasted Lamb Rump for main. I don’t know whether our taste buds have taken a bashing from all the relatively simple home-cooked food we’ve been serving up, or whether the very nature of a meal being cooked for you makes it taste even more amazing, but I’m sure this was the best meal I’ve ever enjoyed at The Ivy Brasserie Winchester; and I’ve frequented numerous times. Crème Brûlée and Chocolate Bombe rounded off what had been a rather wonderful afternoon of feasting, leaving us asking the question, where shall we go next? Thank you Ivy Brasserie for restoring faith in dining out and going above and beyond for customers to make the whole experience familiar yet safe.

Book a table online here

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