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The Ivy celebrates centenary with year-long party

Never one to shun the spotlight, celebrity favourite The Ivy in Covent Garden is to celebrate its centenary this year with a decadent year-long party.

Having played host to the likes of Lawrence Olivier, Marlene Dietrich, Vivien Leigh and Noël Coward, the restaurant will mark its 100th birthday with a series of events throughout the year.

Yesterday actors Miranda Richardson, Jack Fox and Samantha Barks gathered outside the restaurant for the unveiling of a plaque marking its centenary – no mean feat in today’s cutthroat restaurant world.

Director of The Ivy Fernando Piere

The exact date Abele Giandolini opened what was then an unlicensed Italian cafe in West Street is unknown, so current owner Richard Careing has decided to hold the mother of all birthday parties lasting a full 365 days.

Among the celebrations this year will be the launch of a new cocktail menu, an Ivy branded gin, a new £19.17 pre-and post-theatre menu, a recipe book, and a history of The Ivy tome written by director and former maître d’ Fernando Piere.

The book will include details on the rivalry between Giandolini and his former maitre d’ Mario Gallati, who left to set up competitor Le Caprice in the forties.

The Ivy stayed open every night of the Blitz and the celebrity hotspot still oozes old world glamour – interiors are all wood panelling and harlequin stained glass.

Today you’re likely to see all the Toms (Cruise, Hanks, Hiddleston), Kate Moss, Benedict Cumberbatch or the Beckhams shimmying through the door for their shepherd’s pie and sticky toffee pudding fix.

“The Ivy has a professional reputation that is envied beyond avarice. At every lunch or dinner, anyone who reads a Sunday paper will recognise a dozen relaxed, smooth-toothed, autocue animated faces.

“The ones you don’t recognise are likely to be the movers and shakers, the fixers and dealers of the culture,” the late, great restaurant critic A.A. Gill wrote of The Ivy in 1997.

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