Admittedly I’ve visited Ambiente on a couple of occasions before, however due to greed (too hungry to take pictures) or early dating days (because I’d never get anywhere if I inflicted food blogger syndrome on someone from day one) I’ve never reviewed them on the blog. I’m often recommending Ambiente to friends so here I am recommending them to you, my loyal and beautiful readers.
Originally a warehouse beside the river, which became an Argentinian Steakhouse eventually (between those two times I'm not too sure)and then a few years ago Ambiente took over the spot. Ambiente has two other places in York and pride themselves on offer high quality classic tapas alongside some more adventurous plates. Their menu changes seasonally and they also offer a few deals including 3 tapas for £9.95 before 6pm and a tapas for two, veggie and meaty/fishy, for £27.95. There is also a range of paella to share for £19-23. I’ve taken advantage of a couple of these deals in the past and they are certainly worth the money.
In the run up to Christmas I was trying to organise a meal for me and two friends, unfortunately having left it until December to book somewhere I was coming up against it. Thankfully there was still room left at Ambiente and I booked our table for 3 for 5.15pm so we could make sure we were in before the 'three for ten' deal expired. When booking you're advised that the table is only available for 2 hours, throughout the duration of the meal I noticed a few empty tables and was surprised that this restriction still held as surely a trio of ladies wanting cocktails and bubbly would help bring in more cash than an empty table?
The ‘three for ten’ deal is much more restricted than the regular menu and this time I thought that quite a lot of the dishes were very similar and I was finding it had to choose a broad range of dishes. Outside of the ‘three for ten’ deal I also ordered some olives to nibble on whilst we waited for our main dishes.
To drink my co-diners R and G had both a glass of prosecco and I a large glass of Tempranillo.
We ordered food, my choices were Chorizo Y Patatas (caramelised chorizo and potato), Albondigas (Spanish meatballs) in a chilli and lemongrass sauce and Suppli (mozzarella and risotto croquettes). I was rather chuffed when the waiter asked me if I spoke Spanish as my pronunciation of the dishes was spot on.
R and G ordered similar dishes as well as the patatas bravas and some calamari. Three dishes wasn’t enough for me this night, but luckily (for me) three was more than enough for R and G so I got to mop up their dishes too. They did order bread to start so I’m not being a complete fatty... just a little one.
The standard of the food was a little lower than it has been on my previous visits and that disappointed me, even more so as R and G had never been before and I really wanted to show them how great they can be. We didn’t order anything too spectacular but if memory serves me correctly it wasn’t always the special dishes that were stars of the show, they always did the classic dishes well too. However saying that, one of the best dishes I've eaten at Ambiente was a pigeon dish, I'd never had pigeon before and it was an absolute delight, I don't think I will ever forget it. If only I had taken a picture of it...
The waiter we had that night appeared to be the only one serving our side of the restaurant and that included drinks, taking orders for food and bringing out too. It took a little while for our orders to be taken of which he profusely apologised. I don’t blame the waiter at all for our wait but I think perhaps they were slightly understaffed that evening, perhaps they were understaffed in the kitchen too?
I would still return to Ambiente, namely because there aren’t very many good tapas places in Leeds, unfortunately I have to say that if they disappoint me again I wouldn’t be so inclined to return thereafter.