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“Cool but not too expensive”, this offspring of Salt Yard deals in Spanish and Italian food with a “smoky twist”. The two-tiered space is suitably clad in wood, with assorted seating upstairs, more intimate corners and a large bar in the basement. A succinct small-plates menu is great for groups, from Ibérico pork fat chips or smoked burrata with zingy heritage tomatoes to morsels of “wonderfully rich and juicy” hot-smoked Gloucester pork belly served with smoked apple and cider – all given the treatment over single-species charcoal from Kent. The menu is also peppered with trendy extras such as whipped jamón butter, brown crab alioli and chorizo ketchup, while a range of Spanish lagers and intriguing cocktails (acorn liqueur, anyone?) refresh the palate after all that smoke. Ember Yard delivers the goods, whether you’re after a beer and some buttery BBQ flatbread or a full-on celebration; meanwhile, “enthusiastic staff” add the final gloss to this “smoking” venue.
Hollywood’s favourite pirate Johnny Depp once said, “I pretty much try to stay in a constant state of confusion just because of the expression it leaves on my face.” If that is the case then he should dine every night at Ember Yard, the fourth restaurant to be born from the Salt Yard group, for confused is very much how I felt after eating there on Sunday night.Most dishes were so lovely that I felt a genuine pang of sadness when they were nearing their end, whilst the odd few were almost offensive...
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Ember Yard is the fourth restaurant in the Salt Yard group. Everything on the menu is cooked on a custom-built, bespoke Basque-style grill (hence the embers) and dishes have both Spanish and Italian influences, particularly from the Basque Country and Tuscany.I discovered afterwards that the head chef, Jacques Fourie, is South African which kind of makes sense with the SA passion for braaing (barbecuing).
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