Latino 'feeling' comes together for South American venue on launch night

Inside Urban Fresh in Ely riverside

Urban Fresh officially launched on Ely riverside on May 12, as it aims to bring a South American vibe to the city. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Restaurateur Steve Haslam said he “felt the feeling” as the evening ensued on the opening night of his and Ely’s latest food outlet, Urban Fresh. 

Well, that “feeling” he alluded came to the fore as the Latino vibe he was after came to life on May 12.

A warm welcome from Steve and his staff greeted us as me and my mum were directed to our table, positioned with a view of Ely riverside. 

Inside Urban Fresh on Ely riverside

There is plenty of artwork inside Urban Fresh on top of the modern decor. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Inside was a stark contrast to merely two months ago when the premises was empty, but now, a ‘fresh’ look, particularly the modernised décor and artwork, was very much refreshing. 

Minutes after arrival, our drinks were served and as we progressed through our meal, that drink alongside a bottle of water was much needed. 

Inside Urban Fresh Ely riverside

Food, as well as the menu at Urban Fresh, is inspired by South America. - Credit: Daniel Mason

For starters, I chose the Carne Pegajosa which featured South American sticky beef, topped with red slaw, chilli and sesame seeds, at a cost of £10. 

There were similarities to sticky beef found commonly at Chinese restaurants, but this version added a spicy flavour that was surprisingly pleasing. 

Inside Urban Fresh in Ely riverside

Carne Pegajosa featuring South American sticky beef included a spice that made the dish surprisingly pleasing. - Credit: Daniel Mason

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My mum tested the Gambas Pil Pil at £11 including Tiger prawns, garlic and chilli butter with crusty garlic bread, which was a satisfying introduction to what was to follow. 

As the atmosphere began to build, so did the Latino vibe promised ahead of Urban Fresh’s opening. 

Inside Urban Fresh on Ely riverside

Gambas Pil Pil is one of the options to try as a starter at Urban Fresh. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Me and my mum both opted for the Solomillo sirloin steak priced at £29 each, where there was no need for extra sauces as the natural flavours exuded from a high-quality dish. 

Top that with addictive Chimichurri potatoes, roasted vine cherry tomatoes and Chimichurri halloumi, not forgetting tender stem broccoli with truffle oil and parmesan, and you struggled to find fault. 

Inside Urban Fresh on Ely riverside

For the main course, a Solomillo sirloin steak with Chimichurri potatoes, roasted vine cherry tomatoes and watercress garnish was appetising. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Inside Urban Fresh on Ely riverside

Chimichurri halloumi can be ordered as a side dish to complement the main course. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Friendly staff were on hand to check if we were happy, and were keen to delve more into the details on some of the dishes on offer, as well as top up our drinks. 

The starter and main courses were also that cumbersome, that we chose not to go for desserts this time round, but in future, that could well be an option. 

Restaurateur Steve Haslam outside Urban Fresh Ely

Steve Haslam said he "felt the feeling" as Urban Fresh officially launched on Ely riverside. - Credit: Daniel Mason

When Urban Fresh was preparing to open, Steve insisted he did not “just want Brazilian flavours, but from across the spectrum”. 

Those flavours certainly came alive and if the restaurant was at full capacity, with South American inspired music in the background, this venue can become a success. 

RATING: **** out of 5 

Inside Urban Fresh in Ely

There is plenty of artwork inside Urban Fresh on top of the modern decor. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Inside Urban Fresh on Ely riverside

There is plenty of artwork inside Urban Fresh, including the bar area, on top of the modern decor. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Inside Urban Fresh in Ely riverside

There is plenty of artwork inside Urban Fresh on top of the modern decor. - Credit: Daniel Mason