Dec 17 2013

Ember Yard

I wanted to have lunch with my friend Neil but the problem was that it was December, close to Christmas and the first 10 restaurants that I called in Mayfair a week before our lunch were full. So I was desperate and could not find a restaurant in December that could host me. These sort of problems with getting a table make me feel like the recession is totally over. The place that I did book in the end was Ember Yard, as it had just opened, and I guess people did not know about it just yet, hence I could get a table. Having said that the restaurant was full when I went there, so word travels fast about new openings.
Ember Yard is a sister restaurant to the tapas place Salt Yard (MMm) (and Opera Tavern and Dehesa) located in Soho. The menu is very similar to the menus in their sister restaurants and even features the same dishes, like the well-known signature dish “courgette flowers stuffed with goats’ cheese and drizzled with honey”. As in the original restaurant Salt Yard, Ember Yard blends together Italian and Spanish influences in their food, but in Ember Yard (as the name vaguely suggests) there is a focus on char-grilling, smoking and generally cooking food with fire.
I went to Ember Yard for lunch and when I arrived at 12.30 the place was buzzing and full. You could either sit upstairs or downstairs and downstairs the main attraction was a huge Jamon Iberico leg that was being carved up. We sat upstairs and decided to share food. We could chose things from bar snacks, charcuterie and cheese section or have tapas which were divided into fish, meat and vegetables sections. I wanted to order a Virgin Mary and they did not have it but instead they offered a chilled gazpacho served like a Virgin Mary which apparently is what they do when someone wants a spiced tomato juice. Intrigued I had this and have to say it was quite tasty and I had to hold myself back from ordering another one.
We ordered a Spanish charcuterie selection (for £12) which included chorizo Iberico and Salsuchon Iberico de Belota as well as Lomo Doblado (all from Salamanca). It was a good charcuterie selection for the price we paid. We skipped cheese and bar snacks and ordered two dishes from the fish tapas section (out of 5 dishes on the menu), two from the meat section (out of 5) and three from the vegetable section (out of 7). Each tapa costs on average £7 with vegetable tapas being the cheapest (cheapest tapa £4) and meat and fish more expensive (most expensive tapa was the prawns I chose). Overall the food was good, not amazing, but I did like this place more than Salt Yard (MMm). There was no dish that stood out though.
From the fish section we went for “grilled new Caledonian prawns with Majorcan salt, chilli, garlic and parsley” and we got 5 medium sized/ small prawns and it cost £11 so I can’t say this was great value for money, but the flavour was nice and intense. The other fish course that we ordered was “octopus with pepperonata and mojo verde alioli”, the octopus was nice and I enjoyed eating it with the mojo verde alioli, but the pepperonata (red peppers cooked in olive oil with onion and garlic for a long time until everything gets soft and sweet) was too sweet for my liking.
Initially we chose one meat tapa “grilled salt marsh lamb, roasted aubergine and salsa verde” but after we had finished all our tapas we were still feeling hungry so we ordered “free range chicken with cippolini onions, wild mushrooms and guanciale”. The lamb was nice, well cooked and tasty but it had too much fat on it for my liking. I enjoyed the chicken even less and I was not keen about the overall taste.
We chose three vegetable tapas, “seasonal Italian greens with chilli”, “courgette flowers stuffed with goats’ cheese and drizzled with honey” and as I wanted some chips “parsnip-buttermilk chips with manchego”. I was very disappointed that I did not get chips with parsnip and cheese but instead got little pieces of parsnip made like chips with cheese. I had not realized I would get that, and I was disappointed as parsnips are not the most delicious thing in the world. Machego cheese and keeping them in milk did help and this was a way more delicious way how to eat parsnips but still I would have preferred to have chips. The courgette flowers were nice and I love goats cheese and these courgette flowers did not have too much honey which I liked as honey can make it overwhelmingly sweet.
The strange thing though was the order in which they brought the food. The last of the vegetable tapas we ordered “seasonal Italian greens with chilli” came straight after charcuterie and before the meat or fish tapas had arrived and I wish it would have come at the same time as meat and fish so you could eat it together. As we were feeling hungry we finished all the greens, which I liked, before anything else had arrived. And for most of the dishes instead of bringing everything together and matching meat and vegetable tapas they would bring us one or two tapas wait for us to finish and then bring the rest. We got the parsnip chips on our own after finishing everything else which was strange and would have worked much better to have this with the lamb chops.
I did like Ember Yard and had a nice meal there, but I am not rushing back and think there are better tapas restaurants.
Date: 17/ 12/ 13
Location: Soho
Price for 2 people with some alcohol: £108.66

Ember Yard on Urbanspoon

Maija rated: 



Ember Yard
60 Berwick St, Soho W1F 8SU
United Kingdom
Ember Yard Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3