Dining out: Ember and Vine, St Annes

Ember and Vine in St Annes
Ember and Vine in St Annes
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When St Annes chef Kyle De'ath took over premises on St Andrew's Road South in the town, the venue had experienced something of a chequered past in recent times.

Italian restaurant Mammas Too had closed down in 2013 after operating there for many years, and was succeeded by another mediterranean eaterie Cucina Pazzo.

Fish cake starter at Ember and Vine

Fish cake starter at Ember and Vine

However after it shut in July 2015, the site lay empty for two years until Kyle took it on and opened Ember and Vine.

So it was pleasing to find a lively atmosphere when we arrived at the restaurant on a Saturday night proving his confidence is apparently paying off.

It's a fairly big place so not every table was taken, but there was a steady stream of customers ranging from couples to families and groups of friends.

The space means tables are big enough to cope with all the ecoutrements of a meal - menus, side dishes, drinks bottles etc - while as this was a warm evening the patio doors were open adding to the light and airy feel.

Rump steak

Rump steak

Some folk were sat outside sipping cocktails in the al fresco area.

Ember and Vine boasts an open kitchen where chefs prepare a mainly grilled menu including the likes of steak, burgers and ribs.

Sea bass and salmon also feature on the menu, and I did spot a mushroom and spinach risotto for any vegetarians.

My husband Clive chose salmon fishcakes served with pea puree for his starter while wanting a non-meat starter, I opted for charred halloumi from the nibbles options.

Other possibilities included jumbo prawns, calamari and tomato salad.

Our starters were both tasty and stimulated our appetites nicely in readiness for our mains.

Clive had chosen the lamb shank from the gastro menu, accompanied by herb mash, chargrilled vegetables and red wine sauce (£17.50), while I decided to test the steak.

I ordered a rump medium-cooked steak, which cost a reasonable £13.95, and asked for the spanish mojo verde sauce after checking its ingredients with the waitress.

Hearing it contains coriander and is a cold sauce, it turned out to be a refreshing accompaniment along with a portion of excellent hot chips presented in a basket.

Other steaks include ribeye and sirloin and for those with monster appetites, the 850g tomahawk at £49.95 (recommended on the menu for sharing!)

There is also an extensive choice of burgers ranging from 'All Out American' to 'Sticky Pig' which is slow smoked pulled pork, plus something else for non-meat eaters - a charred goats cheese stack or a falafel burger.

Diners can also add side dishes and salads to their dishes.

We found our portions were filling and well presented, but the only downside was it did take longer than expected for our mains to be served.

Having said that, the lamb shank is described on the menu as slow braised.

But in circumstances where a dish may take a little longer, I would always recommend staff to keep customers informed of progress in the kitchen.

There is nothing worse than fearing your order has been forgotten and is languishing in the waiter's pocket.

We accompanied our meal with a bottle of Merlot at £17.20, and a jug of tap water.

There is also an extensive dessert offering including Belgium waffles and icecream sundaes as well as favourites such as sticky toffee pudding, Eton mess and New York cheesecake.

It is great to see this bustling restaurant bringing some life back to this part of St Annes.

And if you want to round your evening off anywhere else, pop across the road to the little jazz bar on Wood Street which has been given a fabulous recent refurb.

Our bill including drinks came to £59.65.