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Review: Embers Restaurant & Bar

Review: Embers Restaurant & Bar


Words: Vanessa Ortynsky
Photography: Robyn Wilson

Embers is the newest addition to the Papanui Club and is quickly becoming a dining destination. The former Workingmen’s club differs from the traditional restaurant format, offering an experience unlike anywhere else.

The two-storey Argentinean restaurant and bar is the perfect place to catch up with friends and family. It’s easy to get swept away by the exhilarating atmosphere. The open concept kitchen adds to the excitement, offering a glimpse into the show. The glowing coals and fire pit provide the backdrop for a truly memorable meal.

The atmosphere at Embers is as lively and inviting as its name. With high top tables for larger groups, smaller groups can choose to settle in and watch meals being prepared by the fire. Embers somehow manages to feel simultaneously intimate and sociable. With friends greeting each other from across the room, it’s easy to see why Embers is buzzing only four weeks after opening their doors.

While the menu features a few vegetarian dishes, meat takes centre stage at this Asado Argentinean barbecue. Asado means cooking over wood fires, but also speaks to the social events associated with this style of cuisine. Meats here can be paired with a sauce and side of one’s choosing. Our Argentinean waitress recited the menu, eagerly answered all of our questions and offered excellent suggestions.

The kitchen layout offers a glimpse into the intricate performance of meal preparation. My dining partner and I were mesmerised by the chefs maneuvering past each other as they prepared entrées, mains and desserts – all without missing a beat. As our plates emerged, we couldn’t help but marvel at the presentation of our dishes. The Akaroa salmon I’d ordered was buttery and tender – melting in my mouth. Paired with a salad and salsa verde, it was satisfying without being heavy. I also sampled my companion’s barbecued lamb and roasted mushrooms, both were mouthwateringly delicious. For the encore, we couldn’t resist sharing the chocolate torte with caramel ice cream and bruléd pears. Not too sweet, we quickly devoured the entire plate.

Setting a high standard for clubs around the country, Embers presents diners with yet another reason to visit the Papanui Club.