Published Feb 10, 2017 01:46pm

Review: Ambrosia artistically delivers exotic Mediterranean cuisine

Ambrosia, a term that refers to the food or drink of the Greek Gods and Goddesses, is a new restaurant that has opened up in Karachi.

Located in a quiet street of Old Clifton, Bungalow No.76 that was dedicated to a chai café has now been replaced by this fine dining restaurant. With a spacious parking space outside, Ambrosia is quite the same on the inside too; a huge garden is dedicated to many tables that are spaced out evenly for a true candle light experience.

Mr.Ali and his business partners have completely transformed the place; on one hand, a unique 15 feet bamboo stick wall with European windows has been created and on the other hand a ceiling with a grand chandelier depicting a painting of the Greek Gods and Goddesses will transport you immediately to the ceiling of Vatican museum.

On arrival, the restaurant was half full on its 5th day of business; at maximum there are around 50 seats, with potential for 20 more outside. An electrical socket is provided under every table in the garden for the ease of their patrons to charge their phones etc.

The restaurant is located in Old Clifton, which was formerly Café 76
The restaurant is located in Old Clifton, which was formerly Café 76

The restaurant is also divided into two levels with an open kitchen and a cocktail bar. The first level is suited for people who prefer a quieter space whereas the second level is for youngsters who don’t mind watching some live cooking in the kitchen. As of now Ambrosia is only serving dinner but they soon plan to launch brunch and lunch too.

While one scans the menu, Ambrosia serves their customers a complimentary thin crust pizza (any flavour) to get feedback from their diners before they can put it on the menu. We were served a chicken and porcini pizza, which was absolutely mouth-watering. Served as hot as out of the oven, the crust was baked to golden perfection and the porcini mushrooms were divine.

Unlike your tinned mushrooms, Chef Jalal emphasised on using imported porcini mushrooms for their customers to enjoy a true fine dining affair. Alongside pizza, I ordered a kiwi mojito which was very refreshing. With bits of mint leaves and fresh kiwis, this mojito was a knockout drink and should be ordered on your first visit!

The menu has around 100 items, ranging from appetisers to main course, desserts and cocktails. As for appetisers, we ordered three items. The first one was artichoke dip which was a blend of mozzarella, cheddar, cream and parmesan cheese with artichokes and spinach, served with crostini (thin slices of bread). As for a cheese lover one couldn’t ignore but order fried camembert - chunks of breaded camembert cheese fried to a golden brown colour, served with homemade raspberry coulis, crostini and rocket leaves.

The fried camembert is an authentic and distinct dish, a must try for cheese lovers
The fried camembert is an authentic and distinct dish, a must try for cheese lovers

The rich flavour and texture of camembert was aptly balanced by slightly sweet yet tart acidity of raspberry coulis. For some people the pairing might be off but Ambrosia is making sure to change the palate of its people by distinct and authentic recipes.

The third appetiser was the spicy minced cigar, a cylindrical shaped filo pastry stuffed with beef bolognese and served with a cold chipotle sauce. The smoky flavour from the beef was balanced seamlessly when paired with the cold chipotle cream. This should definitely be tried by meat lovers!

The spicy minced cigar is unlike any other appetizer you get at fine-dining restaurants in the city
The spicy minced cigar is unlike any other appetizer you get at fine-dining restaurants in the city

Fast forward 10 minutes and our main-course meals had arrived. While I decided to eat the porcini steak, my mum tried the herb crusted snapper. Steak was a charbroiled tenderloin piece made moist with wild mushroom sauce which was cooked to medium rare as preferred; the beef was succulent with the right amount of spices to bring out the flavour of the meat. This main course was also accompanied with mashed potatoes, beetroot puree and some sautéed vegetables.

While the vegetables were crispy and moist, the mashed potatoes lacked a bit of seasoning and beetroot puree didn’t quite enhance the flavour of the meat.

The porcini steak was a decent main course but the beetroot puree didn't add anything to it
The porcini steak was a decent main course but the beetroot puree didn't add anything to it

On the other hand, herb crusted snapper was served on a bed of mixed greens with walnuts and cherry tomatoes twisted into a salsa. The mixed green was as green as grass since the herbs and vegetables were dehydrated using a dehydrator, a machine that removes moisture from food to aid its preservation. The fish was also served with some sautéed vegetables and a beetroot puree. It was broiled to the right temperature and with a hint of lemon and walnuts, it was a classic combination.

The herb-crusted snapper was a safe and scrumptious main
The herb-crusted snapper was a safe and scrumptious main

From the desserts menu, we ordered sticky toffee pudding, a combination of dates and coffee-based sticky pudding served with their homemade ginger spice ice cream. It was absolutely phenomenal. The sweetness of the caramel was in tune with the spiciness of the ginger ice-cream followed with the crispiness from the crumb, making it all the more satisfying. This dessert was an absolute winner and should definitely be on your list to order.

One dessert is clearly not enough for a sweet tooth person, so the next dish that we ordered is called Lemon Tart with a twist. Yep, this plate of art was a modern take on lemon tart. A light and crisp base baked to golden brown topped with a tangy lemon curd alongside raspberry cream and home-made fruit caviar. The acidity from the lemon curd was toned down by the raspberry cream and fresh strawberries hence making it another delicious meetha to order.

From L-R: Lemon tart with a twist, sticky toffee pudding
From L-R: Lemon tart with a twist, sticky toffee pudding

And we don’t quite finish here. When I sat in my car, I was surprised by a small token of appreciation for dining at Ambrosia. While one is dining, the valet puts a small pouch in your car that comprises of a chocolate, an air-freshener and a thanking note; quite a nice gesture indeed.

All in all, Ambrosia provides its customers with fine ambience, good service along with some exotic Mediterranean cuisine. For a luxurious fine-dining experience I’d say the meals are fairly priced ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1500. With portions satisfying and quality of taste not being compromised, this restaurant should be on your to-do list, perhaps a candle light dinner for Valentine’s Day enthusiasts?

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