The Ivy Roof Garden is a popular celeb haunt, boasting a sky-high Spinningfields perch and a mixture of dishes inspired by their ground floor brasserie and pan-Asian restaurant just below. From the eclectic menu to the beautiful floral seating and lush foliage, this is one eatery I'd been itching to try - and I jumped at the chance to head over for date night.
A little early for our table, we were immediately shown to some free seats at the marble-topped bar, where the mixologists whipped up a pineapple daiquiri (£10.75) for me and a peach negroni (£9.95) for my partner to sip on. While the former packed a punch with two different rums, sweet fruit and rich coconut, I was even more impressed by how the peach liquor took the edge off the latter - a drink that would usually be too bitter for my tastes.
Here, we soaked up the stunning surrounds too, with chandeliers, whole trees, ornate columns and emerald chairs just some of the space's features. Funk and soul tunes blended into house tracks later in the evening, for a lively atmosphere that kept everything light and fun. It's safe to say, The Ivy Roof Garden didn't do anything by halves, offering an oasis for drinking and dining. And when you end up on a window table like we did? You'll be counting your lucky stars.
With a crisp bottle of Mantlerhof Grüner Veltliner Weitgasse (£34) ordered, which boasted a lovely Austrian grape variety that I rarely spy on wine lists, things were off to a flying start for the meal itself too. We dove into the food with a couple of British and Mediterranean-inspired starters: bouncy roasted scallops (£12.95) accompanied by potato röstis, a slightly sweet pea purée, Parmesan foam and grated truffle, and buffalo mozzarella (£9.25) with crushed pistachios, courgettes, basil and a green herb dressing. Both dishes made us swoon thanks to plenty of variety in texture and a fantastic balance of rich flavours.
The success continued with their blackened cod fillet (£17.95), which was smothered in a soy marinade, baked in a banana leaf, and served alongside citrus-pickled fennel, grilled broccoli and a chilli yuzu mayonnaise. The fish was succulent - falling apart at the touch of a fork - and, without a doubt, the best savoury plate of the evening. My Korean-glazed chicken (£17.95), however, had a lot of dry pieces, which meant I would've struggled without the avocado and jalapeño sauce or citrus mayonnaise to cover it in. It was a real shame, as the flavour was spot-on.
To satisfy my sweet tooth, I was steered towards the black bee honey and white chocolate cheesecake (£9.25) by our friendly server. With mango sorbet, honeycomb and edible flowers to compliment the main event, it certainly was a showstopper and I left all worries of the flavour combination being too sickly (even for me) behind with each bite.
It's becoming an ongoing joke that my other half likes to order the most showy food and drink on the menu so, of course, the apple tart fine (£8.95) topped off by Calvados flambé was on the cards too. With the booze set alight right beside our table, and the blue flames poured all over, it was the ideal bit of theatre to add to an already delish dessert.
The DesignMyNight Digest
The Ivy Roof Garden is home to enviable interiors and some gorgeous plates of grub, including the best of both their classic British fare and Asian-inspired bites. A far cry from those rooftop restaurants that get away with slightly less impressive food because of their location, this swish spot delivers on all fronts. With some tweaks to my main, this would've been a totally faultless meal; from the cocktails and service, right down to the exceptional flavours.
💰 The damage: £131 between two, plus service charge.
📍 The location: The Pavilion, Byrom Street, M3 3HG.
👌 Perfect for: Treating someone special.
⭐ Need to know: The retractable glass roof makes this a sun trap come the summer.
Can't get enough? See more of Manchester's rooftop restaurants here.