I’ve written about a Salt Yard Group restaurant before and if you happened to come across it then I’m sure you’ll have noticed that it was a hugely positive review.
So positive in fact, that I knew I needed to get back to one of their other restaurants (there are four in total) as soon as possible.
Two of my best friends and I have booked the private space at Ember Yard for a shared 30th meal with a group of friends in November but, although we knew the food would be great, we thought we’d better give it a try, just in case!
Our other friend also joined us as she’s swapping London for South America for a few months so will miss our birthday celebration.
Ember Yard works on the same basis as the Opera Tavern in that the menu is comprised of plates of tapas, small and large, designed for sharing with friends.
We had a quick drink at the bar above Social Eating House on Poland Street before we headed to the restaurant.
The Dill Or No Dill cocktail – Tanqueray gin, smashed cucumber, elderflower syrup, lemon juice, fresh dill, smoked salt – was so refreshing, not too strong and not too sweet. Dill-licious (hee hee)!
By the time we got to Ember Yard, just around the corner on Berwick Street we were famished!
The restaurant was smaller than I expected but really buzzy and I think three different staff members came to help us to our table as we walked in.
We were sat downstairs which was just as loud and busy.
We could have eaten everything on the menu but we tried to choose two things each – secretly knowing that we’d end up ordering more.
We started with a chorizo skewer with saffron alioli each. The meat was spicy and soft and had been chargrilled just enough to give it a bit of crunch on the outside.
Chargrilling is the signature way of cooking many of Ember Yard’s dishes and the restaurant has its own bespoke, Basque-style grill apparently.
The SA adventurer has a rather large penchant for Iberico ham so we had to order that. When we were in Ibiza in July, there were at least two days where she ate it for lunch and dinner!
The ham came in small pieces on a beautiful wooden board. It was very full of flavour and needed no accompaniment at all.
The smoked bream carpaccio with pomegranate was one of our favourite dishes I think, it was translucent and very finely sliced. Again it was served simply and needed nothing with it as the fish itself was so good. We ordered a second portion…
Then we enjoyed a huge dome of burrata with crunchy chargrilled aubergine and focaccia and tiny arancini with a ricotta filling.
The special of the day was chargrilled venison with chanterelle mushrooms and celeriac puree and obviously we needed little convincing before ordering it. It was cooked medium-rare in perfect slices for sharing, again crispy on the outside. I think the mushrooms were a highlight for me.
The chargrilled octopus with pepperonata and mojo verde alioli was possibly my top dish of the evening. The fish was so meaty and tender and the peppers were perfectly roasted.
The final two dishes we ate were the grilled Ibérico Presa with whipped jamon butter – the pork was great but the butter was a revelation. Creamy, with bits of ham whipped into it. Amazing! Very naughty but so good, we ended up just dipping our fingers in and licking it off!
Finally, it would have been rude not to try the cheese so we went for the Manchego board which had three types, aged, young and with rosemary, plus some quince. I am not picky when it comes to cheese at all but I found the one with rosemary a tiny bit sweet.
Ember Yard lives up to all of the hype it has had over the last few months. The flavours and combinations are original and the menu diverse and enticing.
The staff were great, unintrusively placing more and more food onto our table and explaining the menu clearly.
Everyone in the restaurant looked like they were having a great time, including the staff, and we can’t wait to go back in November and enjoy it all again!