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Review: Cocktails and Canapés at The Ambrette

On 20th March at 6:30pm, The Ambrette in Canterbury will be hosting The Warming Cocktail Menu for one night only. A menu that took two years to perfect was served to a select few, including myself, for an initial preview. It is a six-course spectacle that is meant to be enjoyed at a slow pace.

“It’s really most important for friends and family to gather together during the long winter months”, Dev Biswal, owner of The Ambrette. What better excuse to do so than surrounding yourself with warm cocktails and sharing platters of food at The Ambrette.

Hot Toddy, a lemon infused whiskey with a cinnamon stick, was a perfect warm beginning to a cold night served with some beautifully flavoured Portobello mushrooms topped with cheese. While, the main items for the first course set the bar high for the rest of the evening, the added mushroom filled samosas were not particularly memorable.

The whiskey continued to take centrepiece as the Winter Jelp provided a sweeter aspect with some peppermint tea and Jack Daniels for the second course. This was paired with a wonderfully prepared chargrilled chicken and coriander sauce, which paralleled the exquisiteness of the first course and the sweetness of the Winter Jelp.

However, by the third course, the appeal of the hot cocktails seemed to be lost on me as another one was served. The Tom and Jerry consisting of a dark rum, Cognac, hot milk and grated nutmeg’ aroma does succeed in creating nostalgia for Christmas but it was rather underwhelming in comparison to the previous two cocktails. Also, the soft crispy fried crab served with it was quite overpowering in its seafood flavour. Thus it would perhaps put off an individual, like myself, who enjoys a more subtle taste to their seafood.

On the other hand, the fourth course provided with the most approvals from everyone on the table. Whilst still a whisky drink, the Winter Waissail, was a cooler one with apple cider and lemon, which was much appreciated by our warm red cheeks. The pan grilled Venison loin and pulled pork served was the star of the evening. The Winter Waissail complimented the loin perfectly without overpowering it, whilst the pulled pork provided the crunch in the flakes served on it. It was a perfect way to move onto the dessert courses.

The fifth course provided interest in the hot chocolate with Cointreau shot called Hot Shotty and beauty when served the chocolate silk and chocolate samosas. The shot was rich in flavour without letting the alcohol takeover. It is perfect companion to the star of the course – chocolate samosas that provided the savoury feel to the warm dark chocolate filling it had. This was balanced with the sweetness of the chocolate silk, which was framed with white chocolate flakes.

Lastly, the sixth course was a wakeup call in form of a Martini Espresso and a selection of Kent cheese and saffron infused chargrilled pineapple. For a coffee lover, the Martini provided the perfect smell of that first coffee whilst managing not to taste too much like it. It served an interesting pairing with the cheese platter. However the lack of crackers made it rather uncomfortable to eat the cheese and enjoy the chilli jam provided.

At £45 per head, The Warming Cocktail Menu, on the whole, is an innovative combination of tastes and textures that is perfect for a memorable evening for individuals, who enjoy appreciating food, to discover new pairings and flavours.

Cocktail selection. Photo by The Ambrette.

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