“Great food and drink shouldn’t intimidate.” – James O’Hara on new venue Ambulo

The team behind the award-winning cocktail bar Public and Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders are gearing up for the opening of their all-day dining city centre cafe Ambulo this Saturday at 9am. 

Ambulo boss James O’Hara gives Exposed the lowdown ahead of this weekend’s opening. Image: India Hobson

This is something you’ve been working on for a while, how excited are you for to finally be coming together?
Yeah it’s been a long time in the making, we probably had the idea about three years ago. Definitely pre-Public, so it’s great to see something go from being something in your head to reality.

We’ve seen from the pictures that the food and the décor look exquisite but simple, is this the main ethos behind Ambulo?
Absolutely, simple things done with the right ingredients. From natural wine, speciality coffee and cocktails to the food, Ambulo wants to provide delicious produce with all the associated pretension and fetishisation stripped away. Great food and drink shouldn’t intimidate. It shouldn’t be hidden under a veil of impenetrable information and over-complicated descriptions. It should be able to be enjoyed by everyone from all generations and all backgrounds.

What would you recommend from the menu?
My faves are some of the simplest, the radishes and cods roe from the evening menu and the fish finger sarnie from the day. I like fish, clearly!

Image: India Hobson
Image: India Hobson
Image: India Hobson
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What have you got planned for the opening night/week?

Other than a couple of practice runs with family as guinea pigs nothing really. We didn’t want to do a shmoozy private do or anything like that, it’s not what Ambulo is about. We want it to be a really open and inclusive space so a night with bloody canapés and stuff just didn’t feel right.

How are things shaping up for the second venue?
Good! we’re going to give ourselves a breather after this one but will be announcing more details about the Weston Park site shortly!

Ambulo opens this Saturday (9 February) at 9am. The day menu is served until 4pm and the evening menu from 5pm until late. More info at

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