Find and book great restaurantsFind a Restaurant
See more Editor’s Picks
|Address:||60-61 Berwick Street, London W1F 8SU|
|Tel:||020 7439 8057|
|Price: £45.00||Wine: £20.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-12M (Thurs-Sat -1am Sun -10pm)|
This review hasn't been rated yet.
One of the issues that occupies me in deciding where to eat in London is the balance between visiting old favourites and experimenting in the hope of finding new ones. Leaving aside real “special occasion” places, we have a list of about 20 London restaurants that we really enjoy and feel assured of a well-cooked tasty , good value meal. Given that we travel a lot and don't live right in London, two visits a year to each of the 20 favourites would about do us for virtually risk-free eating.
But we're a little more experimental than that; always looking for something that bit different or that bit better, and we enjoy the process of finding them . So in general we split our restaurant visits about evenly between old favourites and first-time visits. The problem is that we're on the wrong kind of roll. Last year we seemed to “discover” at least several places that we really enjoyed. But in these last six months we've found only two new to us restaurants that we've enjoyed enough to know we'll go back, and one of those is outside London. So we're actively looking to find first visits that buoy our spirits, look forward to going back to, and importantly mean that I can spend a half hour writing the more upbeat, optimistic reviews that I'd much rather write. We know our luck has to change soon . Sadly though that wasn't to be today.
We arrived for a small-plates lunch at Ember Yard , stimulated by an enthusiastic report in the press. It's a place very much of the moment, barbecue-driven and with lots of rustic wood. Just the sort of place you'd expect to have twenty-somethings lining up round the block in the evenings, and indeed most customers were a lot younger than us- and I mean a lot. We were greeted with “Hi, just follow me downstairs ” despite the virtually empty ground floor. A minute or two later we settled into the ground floor table I'd asked for when booking, and following that service was always proficient and pleasant. The tables are small, in the context that you're probably going to have several dishes on the go at the same time, and close together.
We ordered a couple of bar snacks, three small plates, two vegetable plates and a bottle of an Italian Vermentino/Trebbiano blend from the lower end of a list that mostly comprised bottles over £30. Without getting into too much detail, everything we ate seemed cooked nicely , but seemed to lack flavour and interest. A lot of little bits of this and dots of that which didn't seem to contribute much. Certainly we felt the food was under -seasoned, and I did wonder whether the squid and octopus I ate had been frozen- I didn't ask so don't know. Ingredients you can normally taste strongly- like broad beans, seemed to disappear into anonymity. Same with the wine. Nothing technically wrong with it, just bland and uninteresting- nothing to discuss and certainly not worth £26.
The small plates are pretty small, and you're going to need a few if you've an appetite. Certainly without the desserts and the large portions of chips and roast potatoes we might have gone away hungry, despite a bill for £96. Now I can eat pretty well in London for that, and I'm not at all sure that Ember Yard competes very well in the value for money stakes. Its not an “occasion” place either. Without the between-course gaps of a conventional restaurant, without the coffee we'd have been out in an hour. Certainly in terms of flavours and value, I'd prefer Polpo/Polpetto to Ember Yard , which I don't think earned a place on our “must go back” list.
Maybe next week.