If you are a lover of modern, aromatic yet subtle combinations then look no further than The Ambrette in Canterbury. Hidden away down the lovely Beer Cart Lane lies this delightfully modern and trendy fine-dining restaurant, just off of the main street.
The Ambrette in Canterbury is a quirky, spacious and contemporary eatery serving stunningly imaginative Indian-based delicacies. There are two enticing entities, the first being the lovely spacious design with well-spaced tables offering a comfortable and relaxing experience, the second is the superb menu choices offering customers a selection of meat, fish, vegetarian and vegan food all procuded using locally sourced ingredients in a stunning original style.
Dev (Head Chef and Owner) was born in Orissa in Eastern India. He graduated from The Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied nutrition in Kolkata. Dev acquired an in depth knowledge of regional Indian cooking while working in various establishments in India. He strives to showcase the variety and complexity of regional Indian cooking in his dishes at The Ambrette.
I love Indian flavours and am always blown away by the creativity that goes into this style of cooking. The flavour combinations such as peaches, cardamom, enriching cinnamon and the heights of saffron hitting the back of your throat with every bite is inspired.
To start we enjoyed a delicious pre-starter of crispy onion and potatoes, I love pre-starters and little treats within a dining experience.
Sometime’s your waiter will mention this and other times they just appear on your table and I challenge you to see an unhappy face when this happens.
Next up was our trio of vegetarian street food which included crispy poori, sweet potato and chick pea flour dumplings, steamed yogurt and vermicelli cake served with a tangy tomato chutney. We also ordered the delightful Seafood Platter For Two which included absolutely delicious crispy fried crab with subtle nodes of the sea. Delightful in every way.
Then there was the classic grilled Tilapia, piri piri Prawn, wild salmon caviar, pickled samphire, smoked tomato and a wonderfully fragrant chilli and lime crab cake.
One of the best seafood platters I have had to date.
The presentation on all of these dishes was very impressive. It is clearly hard to decorate and design a plate of varying flavour combinations but the team behind these dishes gets it so very right. The colours are vibrant, the food is the portion right size and the placement is creative yet intriguing but the real test is and always will be in – the taste.
The combinations of flavours are so creative and so very different to anything I have had before. One moment you’re enjoying something sweet and tangy and the next you have subtle and spicy. It’s wonderful.
For main, I went for the extra large giant black tiger prawn served with fluffy cardamom infused biryani rice, paprika fenugreek potatoes, spinach with red lentil and served with a sweet kerala coconut sauce. The prawn was bigger than any other prawn I have ever seen or had before and had a very deep natural taste.
Whilst very enjoyable, a dollop more of the kerala coconut sauce would not have gone amiss and a side dish to pop the shell in along with a dish of warm water to wash away the sauce on your fingers, would be a recommendation.
Mark enjoyed the fresh fish of the day which was a perfectly tender piece of Hake, served with locally grown sea spinach and a crispy tilapia. The dish was accompanied with paprika potatoes, biryani rice and kerala coconut sauce. The potato in both dishes were fluffy with the delicate spices really enriching the dishes.
To accompany our dishes was the assorted Indian bread basket that contained some of the fluffiest and tastiest Indian bread I’ve had in a very long time.
For dessert,we enjoyed a melt in the mouth mango kulfi, flaked coconut, poppy seeds served with flaky almonds.
I have to say, although I have had mango kulfi a few times previously this was by far the best kulfi I have ever had. The natural taste of mango with the crispy almonds was a pure infusion of flavours.
Lastly, the subtle yet perfectly balanced rose and vanilla crème brulee topped off a truly wonderful dining experience.
The Ambrette in Canterbury is a lovely restaurant. It’s clear that the staff put a great deal of effort into the plates of food and the value of the food is very reasonable. There are seasonal tasting menu choices as well as choices for vegan’s.
The service is good and the restaurant itself is comfortable and pleasing. Don’t be surprised if you find me there sipping on a cocktail and devouring that delicious crab!
If you love Indian cuisine with a very modern twist you will love The Ambrette in Canterbury. Please check out their website here.
14-15 Beer Cart Ln, Canterbury CT1 2NY