A red warning light always starts flashing aggressively in my head when a business sets about world domination. Particularly if it had been pleasingly (usually also successfully) plodding along since God was a boy, delivering its service to its loyal customers who return enthusiastically, comforted by the predictability and the familiarity of said business. For a particular charm lies in an establishment that – to all intents and purposes – is not brazen in its brilliance.

Of course, nothing can be more comforting than a restaurant that provides friendly faces and good food. A restaurant that has sat in the same building for decades. Preferably with a maitre d’ who greets you like an old chum, and remembers your favourite  dish every time you frequent it.

Over recent years, The Ivy restaurant has changed gear. In fact, feathers were ruffled last month when restaurant tycoon Richard Caring sold the building that housed the iconic restaurant and its “super-exclusive” members’ club for a reported £40 million, to supposedly fund his impending divorce. (Anything with a super-exclusive members’ club is usually hurtling towards ghastliness, but that’s besides the point.)

Originally a not-so-humble Italian cafe in the heart of London’s West End, the restaurant (which opened exactly one-hundred years ago) soon became the favoured hotspot for the great and the good of the media world, always bursting at the seams with theatre luvvies toying with their lobster and the glitterarti guzzling champagne. It was – and still is – a place to be seen, where the food is delicious, the service is slick and tables are hard to come by.

And like many Good Ideas, the powers that be saw that The Ivy was good and Caring sought to replicate its success. And so The Ivy’s siblings were born. Various ivies sprouting The Ivy Kensington Brasserie, The Ivy Cafe Marylebone, The Ivy Market Grill etc etc. And now, the Ivy City Garden. Hidden away in Bishopsgate Gardens, the Ivy’s latest franchise is almost impossible to get to – but that hasn’t stopped it drawing in the crowds.

Architecturally discombobulating (there is a garden in the middle of the restaurant that surely sought inspiration from the Eden Project), the decor is rather odd but equally wonderful. A summer water fountain adjacent to three fireplaces is not a familiar sight, but there is a fundamentally cosy atmosphere which allows for the weirdness to fade into insignificance.

The other factor – and perhaps the most important one – that distracts the Ivy City Garden’s visitors from the Eden-project-cum-country-house interior is the food which is, in no uncertain terms, completely delicious. I opted for burrata with peach, olives, smoked almonds and pesto salad, followed by dover sole with beurre noisette. The burrata was death-row quality, and the fish delicious and safe. My companion decided upon tuna carpaccio  with watermelon and miso mayonnaise – not in keeping with the supposed English brasserie theme but refreshing and unusual and summery. He then chose the chicken milanese with black truffle mayonnaise – as delicious as a chicken milanese can be. The Ivy’s latest venture may be off the beaten track, and unnecessarily chintzed up, but the food was unreservedly delicious, and the latter forgives almost any sin.