Ambience is a Turkish restaurant nestled in a small line of shops and restaurants between Wimbledon and Wimbledon Park London underground stations. It was conveniently located for our trip to Putney, although, unless you’re local it might be a stretch to find your way there.
Service and decor at Ambience
The service is borderline laissez-faire, but that’s more in keeping with the style of cuisine and the overall unfussy and simple decor. Ambience appears to know what it is without labouring anything which is welcome. I hadn’t realised they only opened at 1330 on a Saturday (which is very strange in my opinion) so did slightly catch them off guard arriving ten minutes early for a half-one table. Premium lager on tap and some interesting and well executed cocktails join it. No wine was drunk but the list was simple and solid.
Food at Ambience
Ambience offers several set menus, the third of which is a hot and cold meze followed by a mixed grill. The former is a selection of hot and cold classics, clearly home made (there was a garlic tzatziki style dish and a beetroot dish both of particular note) and a basket warm fresh bread that wasn’t begrudgingly topped up. The hot platter was well executed but the calamari felt out of place somehow; I think it could be omitted in all honesty.
Ambience’s kitchen boasts a genuine Mangal, or charcoal grill, which is very much put to good use. Some of the best lamb kofte I’ve had in a very long time came off that grill, along with juicy chicken wings, chicken and lamb shish all excellently done. There was also a chicken kofte which I am not a huge fan of, but Ambience did execute it well.
All in all, Ambience offers a solid dining exercise in the Turkish style of cuisine. My only regret is that it is a lot for a lunch; I saw others enjoying moussaka which I think is a far more sensible choice for the middle of the day. Actually, there’s two regrets – that and I didn’t have room for Baklava.
Meze Mangal in Lewisham is still the gold standard for me in this cuisine, but Ambience is a worthy challenger and worth a visit.
|Price Range||£35 a head (set menu, couple of pints each)|
|Phone||0208 946 4300
|Address||Ambience Restaurant 12-14 Leopold Road Wimbledon London SW19 7BD|