as published on YGTV
Nestled in the corner between Gin & Wines and My Wines, we find the latest offering that Chatham Counterguard has to give us; Vault 13.
“From old foundations to new beginnings”
Having transformed itself from the Wright Tech Media premises into a small plates and cocktail bar, has been a giant step for William Wright, proprietor.
The vault, restored to original brick and stone, provides a unique setting with subtle overhead lighting in blue and lilac hues, reflecting the handcrafted wooden tables with cobalt blue centres. The glass wall at the end of the vault showcases the kitchen area – an approach which always inspires cleanliness and confidence in diners.
From the opening on 5th August, they have been running with a soft launch menu of open faced tostas, small plate dishes, salads and meat dishes; quite a generous list with a simple cheese and charcuterie selection.
Many dishes on the menu will be familiar such as prawns al pil-pil and huevos rotos which, even though delicious, can be found on menus along the strip but there are many other dishes worth a try – the staff are always friendly and on hand to talk you through any dishes you might not be sure about.
We ordered the chicharrones whilst we looked through the menu. These were man-sized, home made pork scratchings. Crispy, aerated, puffed, pork-scented bites. Personally, I would have preferred them to be saltier to be the perfect accompaniment with an ice cold beer!
On various occasions, I have now ordered the pulled pork tosta with spicy mayo and chicharrones which is one of my favourite bites. The tender pulled pork, laced with asian flavours of soy, star anise and topped with a mini version of the chicharrones mentioned above; a pork-flavoured Quaver.
The pork belly bao bun with pickled cucumber and spicy mayo is also another of my regular choices. The bao bun light and fluffy, every bite yielding through to the asian-flavoured pork belly. The pickled cucumber providing texture and acidity to the earthy flavours of star anise and soy.
The round red prawn croquettes are a friend’s favourite and she always orders them – presented in a ceramic egg carton; each golden sphere sitting on a dollop of aioli, however, sometimes the aioli has been decoratively sat on top of the croquette. Size of the croquettes has also been inconsistent, fluctuating from XXL (a two biter) to M (pop in the mouth size) – there needs to be greater consistency in execution and presentation.
I never got to try the sticky toffee pudding which I have been told, “Is to die for!” So much so, that the person in question actually orders these to take home at the end of the meal.
I’ve also been told that there is a “Cocktail of the Week” – Raspberry Gin Fizz and Sweet Dreams being popular amongst those who’ve tried them but I have never seen this on their menu nor been encouraged/offered these on any of the occasions I have been to Vault 13. Perhaps something that can be thought about for the future. Put up some posters at the entrance encouraging people to request the cocktail of the week or ask people if you can get them a taster glass of the Cocktail of the Week (at a reduced price) whilst they look through the menu – just a suggestion.
Also, I was not impressed and will not abide my glass being taken off me during a meal and replaced by a single-use plastic cup because the fear is that I may disappear with it to another bar along the strip. As someone enjoying an evening dining with grown-ups I felt that this was perhaps out of place and inappropriate for a restaurant.
Operate this policy for people who pop in to buy a drink rather than diners who are sat at tables.
There is much to enjoy at Vault 13. I especially liked trying different dishes to what can be found elsewhere on the strip and other restaurants around Gibraltar. I particularly like their Asian inspired small plates and hope to see this idea evolve into others: Asian popcorn shrimp bao, chicken teriyaki with sesame seed bao, fried chicken with smashed avo, pulled hoisin duck bao with cucumbers and spring onions – the list is endless.
I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for Vault 13; how William and his team continue to grow and develop their menu and the service they provide and how once the training wheels are taken off, their soft launch becomes a full (hard) launch with a full menu.
I’ll definitely return – after all, who can keep me away from those delicious pulled-pork tostas?!