Ambiente Tapas, Leeds is one of those rare types out of Tapas Bars that is as serious about what their serve you to drink as their food. It was also a completely unexpected experience!
I was there recently and only popped in for a glass of wine after work. I was up in Leeds and wanted to find somewhere that had Wifi,where I could relax, have a glass of wine and do a few emails! Ambiente fitted the bill, so I sat down at the bar to look at the wine list and was instantly overwhelmed by the comprehensive selection of sherries.
I need not have been overwhelmed, Mercedes, the extremely helpful girl tending the bar, asked me about the style and type of sherry I liked and then recommended an
Emilio Lustau Papirusa – Manzanilla. This was a clear, pale colour, dry and salty with the nose of a sea breeze and a long almond like finish.
Feeling a little peckish I ordered some Aperitivos to go with my Manzanilla: A mix of salted almonds, Hamas and kikos.
I partnered the Aperitivos with a cheeky side order of Datiles con Serano,
Dates stuffed with almonds and wrapped in Serrano ham. The sweet and salty combination was sublime and delicious.
This cheeky little starter set me up nicely and I was now looking forward to indulging further into the food and sherry menus. For my next drink, I opted for the Antonio Barbadillo Principale Amontillado which had a sharp round nutty finish. I then asked Raoul, my waiter to recommend a few dishes that would suit this style of sherry.
He suggested the following dishes:
Lubina con hinojo
Pan fried sea bass with orange braised fennel and watercress. I loved the combination of the aniseed and orange flavours which really brought out the best in the sea bass.
Gambas al Ajillo
Fresh tiger prawns pan seared and coated in confit garlic and peppers. A different take on a classic tapas dish taken to a new level with the use of a garlic confit.
Green beans, pan fried, in garlic, with sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts. Wonderful colour , texture and flavour with the intensity of the sun dried tomatoes off set by the sweetness of the beans.
Within three quarters of an hour of opening the place was heaving on a mid week night and it’s easy to see why! The service was attentive and instructive and all three waiting staff Mercedes, Raoul and Teresa really looked after me and helped me navigate both the extensive sherry list and also which dishes to partner my sherry choices.
For the finale I went for the strawberry cheesecake partnered with an Emilo Lustau Emilin Moscatel. This was sweet but with a dry after finish so not cloying and a good antidote to the sweetness of strawberry compote served with the cheesecake.
If you find yourselves in Leeds or York and you like your tapas authentic , then definitely give this place a go!