A lively spot offering intriguing little plates.
The Humber Street development showcases the direction that Hull is moving in, with things rapidly taking shape and new establishments opening it is going to take something special to keep up the pace. It appears tapas is the new dining status symbol with Spanish food being the up and coming cuisine in the U.K over the past 5 years, it only seems fair that the City of Culture takes a slice of the action. In steps Ambiente Wine and Tapas.
Situated in one-half of the old Dennis Butler fruit warehouse, Ambiente is the new kid on the block bringing an Iberian dining experience to East Yorkshire. Hailing originally from Malton, with restaurants in York and Leeds, at long last, the people behind Ambiente have decided it is time to open up shop here in Hull. The restaurant is an open space with clever lighting and a table arrangement that gives the diner a cosy and intimate feel. There are Spanish beers on tap as well as a bar that boasts an impressive selection of wines and sherries coupled with a restaurant manager that has plenty of knowledge to help guide those diners that are a little rusty on Spain’s alcoholic offerings.
Now the big question, what to eat? The menu has a large range of dishes, from appetisers to sharing platters, Ambiente offers a large yet concise menu that gives customers enough to choose from without the feeling of being swamped with too much choice. The humble scotch egg goes from rags to riches with the welcome addition of Morcilla, the Spanish version of black pudding. A perfectly cooked runny quail egg wrapped in a blend of local Yorkshire sausage meat and the famous blood sausage, making the perfect introduction for those who are still a little unsure about the bloody delicacy. Álbondigas, meatballs, receive an Ambiente twist that breathes new life into an old Spanish classic.
Other classics can be found, like Calamares, patatas bravas and chorizo, and of course, a Spanish restaurant isn’t really a Spanish restaurant until it serves up the famous Galcian octopus dish, Pulpo a la Gallega. There are also dishes like Carrilladas, braised pigs cheek, that are so prevalent in Spain yet we seldom see here in the UK. Then there are the showstoppers such as Bistec de Arrachera, a dry rubbed skirt of beef cooked in the Josper, Ambiente’s charcoal oven, that is served with blackened BBQ onions and a salsa of garlic and herbs. This one speaks for itself and is definitely one for the meat lovers.
The plates average out at below seven pounds so it’s best to do things the Spanish way and share a couple of plates at regular intervals. Whether you are a newcomer to Spanish cuisine or something of a tapas aficionado there is something on the menu here for you. When to go? Ambiente strikes a perfect balance between a restaurant for a special occasion and somewhere you can meet up after work. With a great atmosphere and metropolitan feel, you’d almost be forgiven for thinking you weren’t in Hull, almost.
Words | Nick Hill