It would have to be a meal fit for a queen. Queen Viv to be exact. She was celebrating a big birthday and I wanted to find somewhere suitable for her majesty. Across the oceans, the Queen was having her jubilee but my focus was Queen Viv’s celebrations. Many years ago we had all dined in the sandstone building where Embers sits and we all had good memories of our time there. Now, almost 15 years later, we are back.
You may have walked past it countless times as the signage is very subtle-I know I have. The logo for Embers glows as a subtle, small discreet sign. Inside, it is dark, very dark indeed with small tea lights glowing on the tables. Murals of men and women smoking hookahs adorn the walls and there is also a bar to the right. The food is said to be modern Lebanese cuisine with a twist on traditional offerings. Former Rockpool chef Simon Zalloua is in the kitchen and he is of Lebanese descent. We take some recommendations on what to order and warm up.
Shanklish and tomato sambusek w preserved lemon salsa (4) $13
Not long after, our food starts arriving. Shanklish is a Lebanese cheese that fills these half moon pastries. The pastry is lovely and short and the inside filled with melted cheese and tomato. There is also a lamb version of these on the menu.
Crispy brussel sprouts, baba ganoush and chickpeas $12
Miss America intones that “if brussel sprouts tasted like this when I was young, I would have eaten more.” Indeed the humble and much hated sprout is experiencing a bit of a revival at the moment and here, it is enormously appealing indeed. The sprouts are lightly crispy, almost caramelised on some edges and served with baba ganoush eggplant dip and whole chickpeas.
Cauliflower chickpea and pomegranate salad $16
This dish was strongly recommended to us and it didn’t disappoint. The cauliflower was just the right texture, soft but not soggy and wet and the chickpeas and pomegranate seeds and tangy pomegranate molasses lifted the cauliflower and gave it a nice acidity.
Scorched ocean trout w spiced tahini and fennel $19
The sashimi style ocean trout was given a light torching to burnish it on one side and was served with a spiced tahini and paper thin fennel slices. Quite different from the Lebanese dishes we had tried in the past, we all adored mopping up the last of the spiced tahini sauce. One thing from traditional Lebanese meals would have been great would have been the abundance of bread for these sauces (although you can order some bread and it is complimentary).
Lamb dumplings w warm yoghurt and beurre noisette $18′