Thursday, 23 January 2014

Quick Review: Ember Yard

Ember Yard on Berwick Street is the latest restaurant from the Salt Yard group. It opened its doors for the first time a couple of months ago.

It is another tapas concept with Italian and Basque influences where the menu all looks reasonably priced but the amount you end up having to order to have a proper dinner means the price rapidly creeps up. I am not sure it was worth the £35 I ended up spending but it was predominantly delicious. 

The night began well with the bar snack pimientos de pardon - almost impossible to get wrong - but for £4.50 the portion was generous, giving me false expectations of what was to come. 

Next came the prawns and the octopus from the tapas menu. The prawns were hot off the grill, garlicky and succulent. The octopus meanwhile was a small helping of thick tentacles that were ever so slightly chewy as a result of the outside being overdone so the inside wasn't raw. The relish they were served with was well caramelized and worked together with the herby aioli.

The feta-filled battered courgette flowers were next, dripping with honey - salty, sweet, herby, earthy, crispy, soft and firm - a delightful myriad of textures and flavours. This was the best dish of the evening, but, although I am only too aware that all good things must come to an end, each portion consisted of a rather meagre 2 pieces for £8. 

After this we had a rather chewy pork shoulder dish served with a flavoured butter. This was the strangest of what we had and not a favourite of mine at all. I have a reputation among my family, borne from my behaviour as a toddler, of absolutely loving butter, but dipping a piece if pork into it too fatty, even for me! Other than that, we tried to fill up on the chips which were great but came with a sauce I didn't particularly like. The waitress swiftly provided me with some aioli in its place.  

Maybe the name itself is somewhat inauspicious, the experience did seem to end in embers... the second round of dishes didn't live up to the first and the intriguingly named ganacha pudding was a rather prosaic chocolate fondant with ice cream, yawn. 

That said, the house white was reasonably priced and refreshing and the service was pretty good. I won't be rushing back for more but I wouldn't object to going back either...