With the opening of The Ivy Brasserie fresh in everyone’s minds, I spoke to General Manager Katie Miller to learn more about her experiences in the hospitality industry and how the brasserie has been received in Norwich.
How long have you worked for The Ivy Collection?
I joined The Ivy Collection team three months prior to the opening of The Ivy Norwich Brasserie. During this time, I trained at The Ivy Cobham Brasserie, which I really enjoyed.
What drew you to the role?
I was very excited about the prospect of overseeing the opening as General Manager and can’t wait to continue meeting our new neighbours and regulars over the coming weeks. We’ve got a great team here in Norwich, including my Assistant General Manager, Alastair Linton and our Head Chef, Andrius Buinickas, so I’ve got a lot of support.
Can you tell me a little about your experience in the hospitality industry?
I have over 15 years’ experience working in the hospitality sector, ten of which have been in general manager roles for a series of renowned hotels and restaurants across the country.
In 2008, I came back to Norwich as Assistant General Manager for Loch Fyne, and in 2010 moved to the De Vere Group as Conference and Banqueting Manager for Dunston Hall Hotel. In 2013, I joined Jamie’s Italian UK in the Grand Arcade and led the 240-cover restaurant, overseeing a team of over 40 people.
I then relocated to Newcastle to head up their Newcastle flagship restaurant before moving into a Training and Openings role with MOD UK, before joining The Ivy Collection team this year.
What is so special about The Ivy Collection?
The Ivy brasseries are renowned for being relaxed yet sophisticated, and at the heart of it all is our passion for serving a dining experience with a smile. Although each of our brasseries has its own unique feel, there is definitely an ‘Ivy’ aesthetic which is present in all our restaurants, including leather banquettes, a signature green colour palette, marble floors and bronzed antiques.
How does it enhance dining in Norwich?
There was a real buzz surrounding our opening in August.
Norwich has a wealth of food lovers and I believe our offering will complement the strong number of eateries the city already has to offer. It’s a busy area and we want to ensure we are accessible and that we cater for all occasions, whether our guests are looking for a quick bite to eat with a friend, working lunch or celebratory meal with a bottle of Champagne.
Norwich has a wealth of food lovers and I believe our offering will complement the strong number of eateries the city already has to offer
Guests can enjoy a variety of brasserie-style menus, ranging from breakfast, lunch, light snacks, afternoon tea, dinner and weekend brunch. Although reservations are encouraged, we hold back a number of tables each day for this reason.
There are little nods to Norwich throughout the restaurant. Which is your favourite?
It would have to be our artwork. All pieces are unique to each restaurant and inspired by the heritage and local landmarks of the area.
In Norwich, most pieces depict local topography and architecture, the iconic Norfolk Broads (including wildlife, botanicals and aquatic themes), literature and publishing. All our artwork was curated by The Ivy Collection’s Art Consultant, Adam Ellis, and I think it makes the restaurant look even more striking.
How many people work at the restaurant?
We have 80 front of house staff and 45 back of house staff. Most of our team are from Norwich and the surrounding area.
What sort of training process did they go through?
Our senior management team was in training for three months ahead of opening, while all staff members were in training for two weeks. It’s so important that our staff are confident and happy.
Can you tell me a little about the menu?
Our menus are all-encompassing, serving everything from breakfast, coffee, light bites, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and weekend brunch.
We also have a set menu available Monday to Friday from 11:30 – 6:30pm with two courses priced at £16.50 and three courses at £21.00.
Are ingredients locally sourced?
We use trusted suppliers and produce sourced responsibly. Our drinks menu incorporates a number of local suppliers including Boadicea gin and beers from Woodforde’s Brewery.
Which dish is your favourite?
It would have to be The Ivy Brasserie shepherd’s pie – a classic dish inspired by The Ivy West Street and an example of warming comfort food at its best. I’m also a huge fan of our Spinach and Avocado Benedict if you’re in the mood for a delicious brunch stop.
Will the menu change over time?
Our menus are updated seasonally, four times a year. Our set menus are also updated every fortnight.
What’s the biggest thing that has surprised you so far?
The friendly reaction we have received from our guests and neighbours so far. I hoped we would, of course, be met with positivity but everyone has been so friendly and eager to see what we have to offer.
Everyone has been so friendly and eager to see what we have to offer
It’s been a pleasure getting to know our guests who have already been through the door.
Read more about dining in Norfolk & Norwich.
Image credit: Paul Winch-Furness