After my first Ivy experience at London’s Ivy City Garden for my best friend’s 40th birthday, I was eager to try out the Ivy venues a little closer to home. Looking for some new afternoon tea locations in Bristol I was excited to head to the lovely Clifton village, home to cute cafes, independent shops and, of course, the Ivy Clifton Brasserie.
Just a short walk from Bristol Zoo and the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Ivy Clifton Brasserie is located in an old bank building and uses its beautiful features to its advantage. The main restaurant area is open and bright and after checking in, Karis and I were taken through to the Orangery, where guests are seated for afternoon tea on stylish sofas and chairs. It was like being in the conservatory of a quaint English country garden, with large glass windows facing out onto beautiful flowers, while the sun shone down on us from the glass rooftops.
After reading through our menus, our server brought us over cold bottled water and asked for our drinks order. I went for the Ivy afternoon tea blend, while Karis had Earl Grey. We were invited to treat ourselves to something from the cocktail menu and the waiter kindly offered to make a bespoke virgin version of any cocktail on the menu if I didn’t want alcohol.
However, once I saw flavoured gin on the menu I simply had to go for the Ivy Royale made with hibiscus gin, sloe infusion, rose water and the Ivy champagne. This was just how I like it – super sweet, so it went down a treat. The hibiscus and rose water weren’t too overpowering, like I’d had elsewhere, which meant I could enjoy the taste of sweetened sloe.
Karis’ cocktail was an Instagrammer’s delight. She chose the Lavender Lady, made of Beefeater gin shaken with orange blossom, peach pulp, Briottet Crème de Pêche and fresh lavender sweetened with agave. It looked too pretty to drink! Karis was impressed – it wasn’t too sweet and the fresh lavender gave the drink the perfect amount of floral flavour.
Our afternoon tea was brought to our table quite quickly, and was obviously freshly made. A three-tier tray held our sandwiches and sweets while a separate silver two-tiered tray displayed our scones and the requisite accompaniments.
The sandwiches consisted of a truffle chicken brioche roll, a marinated cucumber and dill sandwich, and smoked salmon on dark rye-style bread with cream cheese and chives. I did think at first that they weren’t very generous as we only had one of each type of sandwich per person, but as I usually find, by the time I’d made it through everything I was totally full!
Personally, I really enjoyed the chicken, with its sweet brioche and chunky meat filling – the flavour was very mild and the truffle not very strong, and it made for a pleasant change from the usual coronation chicken or mayo combo where it’s chicken ‘with gloop’. Karis on the other hand, who is more of a true food critic than me, did say she thought the brioche was overly sweet.
Sadly, the cucumber option went down as a little soggy and underwhelming. However, the smoked salmon was downright tasty – the smokey flavour was really strong and went well with the dark rye. They didn’t last long at all!
Scones at the Ivy Clifton Brasserie
After a short pause to enjoy some more of our hot and cold drinks, we then moved onto the highlight of the afternoon tea – the scones, of which we had two each. Unfortunately, there isn’t a plain option, which made me a little sad, but after Karis quietly sat through me picking out my offending raisins, we enjoyed them a lot!
They were still slightly warm (a big thumbs up from me!) and came with small bowls of clotted cream, strawberry jam, and some fresh sliced strawberries – something I’d not encountered before. After discussing the time-old argument of what first, cream or jam (according to our Insta stories you say cream first, peeps!) we sat back and ate them in quiet approval. Packed with fruit (if that’s how you like them!), moist and with a tasty sugar-dusted crust, these were darn tasty scones.
Sweet treats including the Ivy Nursery Pot
Finally, it was time to move on to the sweets, which included raspberry cheesecakes, crème brûlée doughnuts, and the uniquely displayed chocolate and salted caramel mousse pots.
The raspberry cheesecake tartlet was sweet and creamy as it should be – with the tangy fresh raspberries to give it a rounded overall flavour, and although the crème brûlée doughnut could have done with more filing I did enjoy the doughy goodness with its slightly burnt sugar crispy topping.
Lastly, we pick up our Ivy Nursery Pots, a special summer offering available to guests during July and August. The little pot holds a chocolate and salted caramel mousse, topped with cream, a chocolate crumb and finally some pretty edible flowers.
The pots were tasty but very rich and after finishing them off we were beyond sated and ready to lay back on comfy seats and have an afternoon snooze!
What we thought of afternoon tea at the Ivy Clifton Brasserie
Overall the afternoon tea was highly enjoyable. The food itself was pleasant, but it was the setting, presentation and the service that made it something special.
The serving staff were exceptional, always at hand if we wanted to ask for anything and would regularly swing by to refill our water glasses and check if we wanted fresh tea. You can’t help but feel like an honoured guest.
And the setting was just beautiful. I loved the décor of the restaurant, especially the little nods to the local area and the presentation of the tea, with its one-person teapots and quirky ivy sugar bowl was just lovely.
I’d be interested in returning in future to see what other seasonal twists they offer as part of their afternoon tea, but I also love the idea of coming back for a decadent weekend brunch sometime!
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Afternoon tea at the Ivy Clifton Brasserie is available daily from 3-5pm. Afternoon tea is £17.95 per person, or £25.95 for champagne afternoon tea.
Our afternoon tea was complimentary for the purposes of this review. However, as always, all views are my own.