Ember Yard 22

61 Berwick Street , London, W1F 8SU

5 reviews

45 Spanish Soho

  • Ember Yard Soho
  • Ember Yard Soho Food

SquareMeal Review of Ember Yard

“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.

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8.0

Food & Drink: 8.6

Service: 7.6

Atmosphere: 8.2

Value: 7.4

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Gourmand Gunno platinum reviewer 21 April 2016

Ember Yard fitted perfectly the brief I had been given by my comrade for the evening: find somewhere cool but not too expensive for six people in central London at fairly short notice. I added an arbitrary extra criterion to the above, wanting to go to a place I had not visited previously. Having dined enjoyably on several previous occasions at Ember Yard’s sister restaurant on Charlotte Street (Salt Yard), the former seemed a good choice for our night. In no sense were we disappointed. The place was busy on a weekday night, but with a pleasant atmosphere, buzzing but nowhere near so loud that we couldn’t hear ourselves speak. We were allocated a good-sized table downstairs and were attended to by prompt and enthusiastic staff. As the restaurant’s name hints at, the USP of Ember Yard is its approach to cooking, namely, over wood and charcoal. The restaurant’s website talks of how it commissioned a bespoke Basque-style grill and uses only single-species charcoal from Kent. While I cannot verify the accuracy of this claim, all the food we sampled received a resounding thumbs-up. Being a group of six, we were able to rove across almost all of the menu, taking in a range traversing meat, fish and vegetables. There were clear successes in all categories. Ember Yard draws most of its culinary influences from Spain and Italy, but their piece-de-resistance was the wonderfully rich and juicy hot smoked Gloucester pork belly, served with smoked apple and cider. It was indulgent and probably terrible for the health, but worth every moment. Ember Yard also proved that vegetables were not an after-thought and indeed we ended up ordering several of their hot smoked butternut squash and also their char-grilled artichoke dishes, both topped with enterprising herb/spices/ condiment combinations. The drinks list also impressed, and their selection of wines, while heavy on Spain and Italy, made a clear effort to draw bottles from the less-obvious regions. We found our Valencian Bobal juicy and refreshing, a versatile food match. It is clearly easy (particularly when in a group and re-ordering dishes) for the bill to rack-up, but more parsimonious diners can also comfortably come here and undoubtedly enjoy the experience.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

David H. platinum reviewer 14 April 2014

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.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Monikasays platinum reviewer 18 February 2014

A spanking new Spanish tapas was to me, the perfect pre- theatre valentines treat. Yes the service was fast and there was none of the pomp surrounding a 3 course meal, but there were too many schoolboy errors. Ember yard is the 4th eagerly awaited venture by the Spanish gods behind Salt yard and Opera tavern. The emphasis here is on the grill which gives everything that chargrilled barbecue edge. The restaurant itself is nestled in pumping Soho and so the vibe is good and the interior very inviting on a gales and storms sort of day, which seems to be every day at the moment. The menu is an attractive one with yummy sounding bites and intriguing condiments; ‘iberico pork fat chips’ , ‘saffron alioli’, ‘smoked beef burgers with chorizo ketchup’, ‘quince glazed iberico ribs’ ie lots of porky favourites. I know tapas dishes come very randomly but the chips came first (slightly undercooked and definitely under-seasoned ) and then a long hiatus before the others. 2 wrong dishes came throughout the meal, with minor apologies. The chargrilled cuttlefish were like chewy bits of elastic bands..not even the nduja could rescue this dish. However the quince doused chargrilled ribs were a thing of melting beauty, definitely the top dish. The end bill was a very reasonable £60 for 2, with a free lamb chucked in. Ember yard has all the elements of good, trendy, laid back tapas restaurant but attention to detail and slick service were lacking. Opera tavern and Donostia still win hands down.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Kenza w. 15 January 2014

The Ember yard presents an exciting and innovative range of dishes based upon the very best elements of Italian and Spanish food. The daring and exceptionally well prepared food wowed us. The delicately smoked and charcoal grilled meat and fish are cleverly enhanced by Mediterranean delicacies such as Bottaga ,N’duja and Guanciale. The waiters were extremely polite and attentive despite the rush. We loved the smart decoration combo: Fine rustic in the upper dining room and stylish art- deco in the cocktail bar downstairs. Our favourite dishes are the house smoked anchovies served on hot coal, the octopus with the verde aioli, the bream carpaccio, the Basque burger with the gorgeous Idezabal and Chorizo Ketchup and the roasted gratin of root vegetable. I shan’t even go into the cocktails and the wine list except to say that they exceeded our (high) expectations!

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Owen B. bronze reviewer 15 December 2013

Combine great tapas of Spanish and Italian influence, insistence on great produce, throw in the latest trend du jour of smoking, add little seasoning, and you get Ember Yard, the latest opening from the dependable Salt Group. Since last year, Opera Tavern, has been one of my favourite eateries and places to take new people to London. It is one of the few places that does the superlative Ibérico pork meat rather than just the jamon, and sits nicely in the pricey but not extortionate value range. Ember Yard is another step up from this adding another layer, a smokey one at that, to an already successful formula. The upstairs is great, lively atmosphere, open kitchen with chefs shouting orders, long tables, waitresses darting around with slate served tapas. Downstairs is a bit more relaxed with a jamon carving bar, when I went service was a little slower down here, so if you are less time conscious you can simply enjoy the ambiance and make your way through the incredible cocktail list. Negroni with smoked campari & ice or the Ember & Ash – 'raisin infused rum, PX with bourbon smoke! The menu is a similar format to the other Salt Yard group restuarant, few snacks and cheese/hams on the front and Fish, Meat, and Veg dishes on the back. Now I've been back quite a few times, there is only a few things left on the menu yet to try, the majority. From the ‘Bar snacks’ the anchovies are worth going for. Cold smoked, and to be eaten bones & all, a completely different flavour profile to what you would expect, brilliant, although it does divide opinion some on our table really didn't take to them at all. Such a shame, more for me, the joy of tapas and not being fussy! The chipirones (basically baby squid), are easily missed, I had to Google what this was, but are really moreish. Gordal olives with goats curd, orange and pistachio are a great and fresh combination, if only there was more. As for the ibérico pork fat chips I shouldn't need to say more except IBERICO PORK FAT CHIPS. These weren't allowed to settle on the table until almost inhaled by the table. Large sharing plates is a fab idea, the eyes draw and immediately boggle on reading ‘hot smoked old spot pork belly with basque cider, and smoked apple’ completely overshadowing the ‘Bistecca Fiorentina’ (T-Bone steak). ‘We are having that, no question’. Even for 3 of us there was a lot to go round, a large portion smothered in an incredible cider glaze. Old Spot is one of the fatty breeds, this was incredibly rich and juicy, those that think they can take down this beast on their own may have eyes bigger than their belly. Onto the fish section. If I was an octopus I would be offended to be put in the ‘Fish’ part, they are very smart creatures, but so be it, they are also delicious. Prawns are dumb, I doubt they really care where they are, mislabelled or not. The cuttlefish with pumpkin and n'duja is a standout dish, such punchy flavours. The smoked sea bream carpaccio with bergamot and bottarga was disappointing I was looking forwarded to this, slightly too much bergamot was overpowering, and by the time I came back after another dish it was a hostile takeover, completely overwhelming everything. The octopus however was perfectly cooked and tender paired with pepperonata and mojo verde aioli. Don't think it will come as much of a suprise when I say if you were to only have one dish at Ember Yard it should be the Ibérico presa with the jamon butter. The butter so good I had to get a little pot of it to myself, those who know me know how much I love the yellow stuff (which is actually good for you). The presa is a flavoursome cut, cooked medium rare, something only really do with iberico due to it's breeding. With a nice char on the outside, it's a pork version of a good steak, like flat iron, it being from the shoulder region. The iberico ribs are really tender and succulent, but the quinze glaze is slightly too sweet for my tastes, and the meat isn't as flavoursome as the presa. The basque beef slider is a beautiful few mouthfuls, not reaching the heights of the opera tavern foie gras and iberico one though! Perfect for a group get together, a true test of a relationship ‘sharing food’, or a quick lunch. It's very easy to work your way through the menu, and thankfully their use of smoking isn't just jumping on a bandwagon but really brings certain dishes up to a different level. Unashamedly, I'm very much a meat and fish person, except for kale, it's trendy didn't ya know, someone ordered the root veg roasted gratin, with smoked ricotta and Idiazabal cream. This is a really good, and a very rich dish, the smoked ricotta particularly stands out. Still got room for dessert? I went for the tiramisu and lemon ice cream, nice but nothing spectacular. I hear their donuts and quinze jam though are really good…Something to go back for

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