And off they went to York. I think this could be a thing you know, taking off in the winter months to do all the festive things. I love Scotland. I’d quite happily spend most of my time there. But there’s definitely something in heading further afield, especially when we managed to skirt two big storms by doing so. Where we had come from in Aberdeen was getting totally pummelled by Storm Arwen, and here we were, grateful to the gods, to be wandering around York’s Christmas Market. And then onto The Ivy in St Helen’s Square for a ‘Carousel Christmas.’ Our old house was out of electricity for 4 days! Whereas in our self-built van conversion, our solar panels and split charge were keeping us in power. We’re still counting our lucky stars.
The Ivy, York
We went along for a really lovely lunch date in York at The Ivy Brasserie. With extensive menus created by The Ivy Collection’s Executive Chef, Sean Burbidge. It’s mostly comfort food, but with a luxurious twist. The majestic carousel doorway decor was worth a visit in itself, being one of the most beautiful I’d seen. This was our first time visiting an Ivy. There are quite a few others in the UK, including one in Glasgow. Through all of our food and drink reviews, this is the first time we’d come across an Ivy. But what a place for it. York is a fascinating, medieval, and historic city all year round but at Christmas, well, some of the festive scenes could have been on postcards.
Wintery Comfort Food
Lunch was stunning. For my starter, I had a warming dish of truffled wild mushrooms, potato rösti, creamed mushroom, and fried quails egg topped with grated truffle. My other half had salt and pepper squid with wasabi and miso mayonnaise topped with sriracha, Szechuan salt, coriander, and lime.
Mains were an aromatic duck curry served with jasmine rice and a chicken Milanese, served with parmesan and truffle cream sauce and a side of olive oil mashed potato.
For dessert, we shared a classic creme brulee with a sugar crust and a chocolate bombe – which melted when hot salted caramel sauce was drizzled over it. The whole meal was completely stunning and full of festive cheer. It was warming, comforting, luxurious and the staff were so lovely and welcoming. The Ivy has to be on your to-do list if you’re looking for festive places to eat.
We also indulged in the Christmassy Carousel Cocktails Menu, showcasing a partnership between The Ivy and Grey Goose Vodka. My favourite cocktail was the ‘Pear Noel,’ a sweet and festive tipple featuring La Poire Vodka, white chocolate liqueur, Irish Cream, and pear with hot chocolate sauce. It was divine and the perfect way to end a wonderful visit to The Ivy.
York Christmas Market
The Ivy was also perfectly positioned right beside the Christmas Market. My better half really enjoyed dragging this boozy soozy around it whilst I sang along to the live opera singers rendition of Poor Unfortunate Souls with all the gusto of Ursula, bought dried flowers, a Disney carpet bag (whilst he had the audacity to question me on where it’s going to live in the van, can you believe) and 3 bags of pork scratchings. Fresh pork scratchings. So aye, not me currently sitting in the van with a huge Disney carpet bag on my lap. Maybe we need a trailer.