Monument may be known more for its thoroughfare rather than its restaurant patrons, but I doubt that to be true forever, and new restaurant Mber may too feel the same. With ample space for new restaurants looking to cash in on city spenders and slick working kids, there's a luxe new dining space that has electrifying cocktails and some of the most provocative shelves in the area.
If you think the phrase 'razzle dazzle 'em' is reserved for 1920s parties and an impressive fry-up for friends, you haven't been to Ember yet. While the space was previously occupied by a lackluster Feng Shui, the multi-level interiors are now something of a jewel in Monument's crown. Not only is the theme worked through the venue with a teasing of golden lighting, tonal furniture and walls laced in light and bottles of high-end spirits, Ember itself has more spaces than most. Split between main restaurant, private dining rooms and a bar, Mber is a glittering example of design follow through, with each space echoing the industrial interiors with glittering tact.
The Food and Drink
Pan Asian dining really opens up a space for for creativity and experimentation, and Mber seem to be latching on to this idea. Not only impressing us with their vegetarian options where most curries and sharing plates comes as vegan or vegetarian as standard, Mber's menu is fun to flit between, splitting options amongst raw, crispy and steamed dishes. Sharing between us a selection of plates that included Shiitake mushroom, spinach and tempeh dim sum (£6.25), Thai Massaman curry with butternut squash and green beans (£8.75), and a Inari tofu tempura pocket with urad dal curry, shaved green papaya mint & coconut sambal (£6.75), not only are the portions a humble and perfect size, the dishes pack a savoury punch. While the dim sum was light, textured and honest, the tofu tempura pocket was crisp, rich and closed perfectly with a massaman curry that promised worked with the butternut squash perfectly in creating the ultimate, autumnal bowl.
When it came to drinks Mber also pulled out the stops. While our meal itself was helped along by an in-house sommelier that not only supported our plates with wines that dabbled with the flavour, he introduced us to the idea that wine changes, and needs to be respected by the glass shape in which it comes. While the wine itself was stunning, light and flitted between both red and white, it's the cocktails that shone for me. With the bitter and rich 'Kitsune' presented before me in a lightbulb, I had little to no idea of what to expect. Paired alongside an edible daisy (hailed as a palate cleanser), this natural, floral bite sent my mouth into a pulsing overdrive with electric jolts as I began the cocktail. Complementing the flavours of banana-infused Campari and pineapple-infused Cocchi Torino Sweet Vermouth, this cocktail played between sweet and smokey alike.
It's restaurants like Mber that show how service in a restaurant can more than just support a meal, it can make it. Not only was our host a diamond, explaining each of the dishes, attentive to our tastes and providing light laughs the night through, our sommelier was rich with knowledge and provided pairings that promised their ingredients the respect they deserve. While clearly a restaurant tailored for couples thanks to its alluring lighting and sharing plight, Ember still managed to pull in families looking to try the new space and guests looking to try the bar for a few late ones as Friday rolled in to a close.
While i'll forever be something of a Wetherspoons wench, it's restaurants like Mber that make you want to pluck up the financial courage to swing on by. Not only perfect for special occasions due to its opulent materials and plush style, Mber are providing guests with cocktails that test the standards of mixology and plates that give rise to both Pan Asian dishes and vegetarian options alike.