Billed as a ‘Mediterranean restaurant and cocktail bar’, Ambience aims to bring a taste of the exotic to the heart of the south west suburbs.
Ambience obviously started out with the intention of creating the feel of a sleek and authentically Turkish dining and drinking environment. However, there seems to be a distinct lack of effort to maintain this appearance, with the seating area of the bar section particularly suffering from wear and tear and a general lack of effort.
There are attractive touches, such as a selection of ornate colourful lamps hanging from the ceiling, bunches of flowers, and the exposed brick work pillars in the restaurant. However, it is let down by the scruffier elements, which include the takeaway menus tacked to the windows.
One of Ambience's selling points is its shisha lounge in the back garden, where a variety of tobacco flavours are served for £7-£10 a go.
Ambience attracts a fair-sized crowd, considering its quiet location, and its restaurant is by far the busiest area. Service is warm and attentive, showcasing classic Middle Eastern hospitality. The venue strives to put the fun into dining, and on some nights there is live music and belly-dancing.
Standard Turkish fare is the order of the day, with starters including a mixed cold meze taster (£6.95) of hummus, cacik (like tzatziki), ‘aubergine with special sauce’, tabbouleh, spinach tarator (a garlicky yoghurt with sautéed spinach), fava (a yellow dahl-style dish made with yellow split-peas) and taramasalata. There is also a charcoal grill, producing classic dishes such as lamb shish (£13.95) and chicken and lamb kofte (£11.95) to a high standard.
The bar serves a large array of uncomplicated cocktails such as tequila sunrise, mai tai and mojito at £5.95 for a glass and £18.95 for a pitcher. Don’t expect any fancy fruit straining or complicated garnishes, as this is more of an umbrella and luminous straw affair - still, there is definitely enjoyment to be had.
A decent selection of bottled beer is present, including Corona, Desperado and Peroni (all £3.30) and Stella Artois, San Miguel and Carlsberg are on tap for £3.65 a pint. A succinct and uninspiring selection of spirits is available for £3.75-£4.10 for a single measure.
The Last Word
Ambience is a good option for a fun and relaxed evening out in the Wimbledon area, even if the execution is a little slapdash, and the prices a tad high for what is on offer.