Leading photo-journalist Neil Hennessy-Vass visits the launch party of Ember, London’s latest luxury venue, where the food and drinks offering has some novel twists to it.
Drinks that come in an electric light bulb and daisies that give you an electric shock – some of the interesting new ways of making a serve at Ember.
I couldn’t smell any smoke but from the ashes flies a phoenix in the form of Ember a brand spanking new late night drink-and-be-merry joint to grace the city.
A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it doorway at 1a Pudding Lane (where the great fire of London started, see what they did there) is the start of your subterranean journey into a womb-like series of spaces with pockets of discretion everywhere.
Think leather, wood and sparkle and candlelight. Sure, it’s got a late night licence (open until 2am Thursday and Friday) it’s got a kooky DJ on the decks after 9pm but, before all that all hots up, you want to check out the food. It’s Asian fusion that on the whole works.
Korean ‘pajeon’ king prawns had a good kick and came with a lasting wasabi jam. The Vietnamese goat curry had been made with care but the hot-smoked salmon cheesecake didn’t hit the mark.
The star was a wagyu beef & foie gras burger with a rather clever avocado bun (great for all you gluten free out there). It’s good value, a tasting menu of small plates for £35 or £60 with wine pairings.
The other big reason you might want call in to spend that Christmas bonus is the spectacular collection of spirits on offer.
People manage the alcohol at Ember have either gold grapes on their lapels or a cocktail shaker in their hands. Knowledge and experience shine through.
Try a Kitsune, designed to cleanse the palate but with a startling twist. Each drink is served with an ‘electric daisy’, a small flower that you eat and sends a pleasurable and tingling electric shock through the mouth, which completely alters the taste receptor. And best of all it arrives in an old school light bulb.
The grown up spirits cupboards hold a treasure trove of rare spirits such as Croziet Grande Reserve 1928 cognac. How about Black Tot Royal Navy, blended from the last stocks of the official Navy rum and held in storage since 1970.
Ember is full of little surprises including a small sake tasting room (yes really)!
This could just be many people’s answer to the quest for a selective cool night out that brings food to the table and drinks to your lips.
This is on the hot list but hopefully not in a 1666 way.
Neil Hennessy-Vass is one of the UK’s leading food and drink photographers as well as having a particular liking for fine food and drink. See more of his work here