'It's the magic of the Ivy but without London's service charges, and we want walk-ins' – The Ivy Dawson Street is open for business

The Ivy Dawson’s Street threw open its doors to the public today for the first time.

With 88 dishes, 200 seats and a 32-seater private dining room, the Ivy, general manager Jamie Belton promises, will have something for everyone.

It’s the first time a branch of the Ivy collection has come to Ireland. Famous guests to the Ivy collection in the UK have included Britain’s Princess Margaret and later Prince Harry, Victoria and David Beckham, model Kate Moss.

Belton explains: “I hope it has the same draw as the Ivy collection. The Ivy is something very unique in what it does. We’re for everyone. They are slightly more exclusive than we are. We want to take care of anyone exclusively or inclusively, but… the way we’ve pitched it is ‘it’s for everyone’.”

“During the week, I hope corporates will use this, I hope people will come in for breakfast, come in for a coffee and a sandwich and have their meetings.”

“We’re keeping 30 per cent of the restaurant for people who can just walk in off the street.”

The brasserie-style restaurant will open from 7am for breakfast, with last food orders at 11pm, seven days a week.

“The three main things are the glamour, the food and its consistency and value, and the magic of the Ivy.”

“When you come in here you can see every inch of the finish in the corners, the finish in the ceiling, but also the finish in the dish.”

“The Irish produce that we’re using has brought the food up a notch from London. We have chefs over from England helping us, and it’s the first thing they’ve spotted… [The food is] the same specification as they have in Chelsea but we’ve upped it with the produce in it. John Stone beef in Longford is without doubt I think the best beef in the world, never mind in this country.”

Two- and three-course set menus will be available for €19.95 and €24.95, while the à la carte menu is broken down into snacks, starters, fish and seafood, steaks, sandwiches, sides and desserts.

In keeping with Dublin standards, there won’t be any service charge on tables of four people or less.

“In London, there is [a service charge] on everything. But Richard Caring the owner had discussed it with us and we just said we don’t want to change, we’re not going to be trailblazers in that way. It’s the same as everyone else – five and up. Then otherwise, it’s just tips for the tea.”

The 200 seats aren’t packed tightly either, he adds.

“We’d rather sit people comfortably, treat them well, and then re-sit it, rather than fit as many in at one time.”

“We bring our electric blinds down in the evening, we put linen on the table and it really makes it a magical evening. Whereas breakfast, it feels very different so that it’s more casual.”

Artist Adam Ellis has adorned the walls with a mish-mash of reworked old paintings, his own originals, and he’s also made the ceilings pop with bespoke paintings.

“He’s gone to antique stores and he’s had to rework them to make them bigger, because it feels like everything we do here, we make it bigger.”

“Especially I love the ceilings. And downstairs, I’m a big fan of literature in Dublin. We’ve called it the Jonathan Swift room, he was a satirist, and he lived in England and Ireland and that’s a similarity between us and himself. Satirist – didn’t take himself too seriously, wrote Gulliver’s Travels so while he had tongue in cheek, he was also very talented.”

For the Ivy, Jamie insists, it’s about a consistent build on their reputation over time.

“With a 20-year lease we plan on being here for 20 years.”

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