Contrary to popular belief, the name of this cafe has no connection to anything beyond the stunning mosaic of antique Egyptian tiles on one wall. Owners Salah Maklad and Roz Laurence had the large tiles shipped back from Cairo when Maklad found them and decided they would work in the new business they were planning.
On the back of each tile is the name of the place they were made, but one of the tiles carried the name Ernest Vignol – a name that appealed to the partners because of its sound and personal meaning.
Maklad has more than 20 years hospitality experience both here and abroad, while Laurence has brought her retail background to the partnership. Together they’ve created a pared-back space with simple wooden finishes and a courtyard out the back.
The desire to put their own stamp on something and do their own thing has also seen the development of an interesting menu with emphasis on seasonal produce, treated respectfully. Chef Carl Barnes, formerly of The Ivy in London, has taken over the kitchen, creating simple but strong breakfast and lunch dishes.
Ernest V also opens for inner on Thursday through to Saturday night offering exotic small plates such as burrata – large soft-centred mozzarella served with bresoula, wild figs, aromatic leaves and an aged balsamic dressing – as well as larger plates such as duck with pomegranate and walnut sauce.