Having visited The Ivanhoe in Scalby Mills Road many times over the years, I’ve seen it change - not just in looks, but in atmosphere and in the quality of the food.
With the venue enjoying an enviable position close to North Bay, it has long been somewhere associated with Sunday lunch followed by a bracing walk to blow away the cobwebs - and burn off the Yorkshire puds.
Having experienced - and thoroughly enjoyed - the Sunday carvery a month ago, we decided to go back on a Saturday night and see what else the pub had to offer.
We booked to be on the safe side, arriving at 6.30pm, but with there just being the two of us we’d have been seated easily.
Not that the pub wasn’t busy - there were plenty of people enjoying a meal and a pint - but the pub is so big that we could have just turned up and still had a choice of where to sit.
The bar area is more relaxed and dogs are allowed, whereas the dining room is more restaurant-like, but still relaxed and informal.
Following a revamp, the pub is looking better than ever, with the dining area smartly decorated and finished with cosy touches, such as fairy lights and comfy chairs.
The staff were welcoming and we felt looked after right from the start, with a barman coming over to take our drinks order while we looked at the menu.
It’s one of the most extensive I’ve seen in a pub, with a huge array of options. It also features something I’ve not seen before - the option to choose your portion size on many of the dishes, a great idea which appealed to us (we didn’t want to peak too soon and be too full for dessert!)
We decided to forego starters, but they sounded tempting, with options such as garlic mushrooms (£4.95), prawn cocktail (£5.95) and stuffed jalapeño peppers (£5.95).
The choice of mains was endless and featured pub favourites such as pie of the day (£8.95), sizzling chicken fajita (£9.95) and cider braised belly pork (£12.95).
I was pleased to see there was a whole section of vegetarian specials - with more imaginative options than I’m used to seeing in pubs.
I chose ratatouille stuffed peppers with a goat’s cheese crust and my mum opted for fish and chips, both in the small size option which was ample for us. Both came well presented and served with homemade chunky chips, which were delicious. The beer batter on the fish was crisp and not too greasy, and the veggie dish was fresh, light and tasty.
The staff were excellent, keeping an eye on diners and checking that everyone was happy and catered for.
It felt more like a restaurant experience than a pub - and the quality of the food was up there.
For dessert we had lemon and amaretto cheesecake and strawberry pavlova (desserts are around the £4 mark).
Presentation was immaculate and they were both a real treat - the cheesecake from the specials board was an unusual flavour combo but it worked.
The accompanying ice cream was missing, and the pavlova came with ice cream instead of cream as ordered, but we still enjoyed the dishes.
In fact we’re already planning our next visit.
OVERALL RATING: 9