Every now and again, you leave a restaurant with a huge grin on your face and a satisfied belly full of deliciousness that you’ve just devoured- you purr away like the cat that got the cream. My visit to Ember Yard was one of those moments. It was a Thursday- so all over Soho was buzzing; the atmosphere was filled with excitement that the weekend was in sight and everyone was out for a good time. I had been dying to go to Ember Yard for so long- it couldn’t have been a coincidence that everyone I’ve spoken to about the restaurant raved about it- it genuinely seemed to be one of those restaurants where everything just worked.
And so I made my way down the streets of Soho, almost walking straight past- it’s that inconspicuous. Once inside the place felt so alive- couples, groups of friends and families filled the seats. Everyone doing their own thing but creating an atmosphere that every restaurant wishes it had. We were seated straight away and were presented with the menu. A menu which every dish on it practically screamed ‘Eat Me’- comforting food, food that you just knew without trying was going to be the dish you were not going to want to share and food which set your tastebuds alight. The dishes take influence from Italy and Spain and are cooked on charcoal and wood- is there anything better than meat cooked on charcoal? I don’t think so.
We were led astray by the menu almost instantly, ordering more and more dishes, stopping for air and bypassing the bemusement on the waitress’s face. We had ordered enough, but I couldn’t stop.
Finally coming to an end, we gave a big grin and waited for the feast to commence.
And one plate at a time, that’s exactly what happened. The individual courgette flowers stuffed with goats’ cheese and drizzled with honey kicked things off- and boy, was it a way to start. I had it all to myself (thankfully- there was no way I wanted to share) and ate it up before my dinner companion could even get a look in. Next up the applewood smoked bream carpaccio, buttermilk fried squid and the piquillo & smoked ricotta arancini. Each time the food passed our lips, our faces lit up like we had discovered something new and amazing. It couldn’t possibly get any better, surely?
We were wrong.
The meat soon arrived and our journey started all over again. The oak smoked basque beef burger (big enough to share, though I guarantee you won’t want to) with the most delicious chorizo ketchup I have ever tasted.
The roasted and chargrilled Iberico pork ribs came out glistening- the juicy meat just beckoned to be torn off the bone and devoured.
Like I said, we had definitely ordered too much. If we’d had stopped at this point we would certainly have been full, but then we would have missed possibly one of my favourite dishes (which, in a meal like this, takes some serious beating off of the competition).
The hot smoked butternut squash with goats’ curd and grape jam came out and already looked like a winner. That was before the bite.
Juicy, sweet, heavenly mouthful after mouthful- it was the dish that went with everything and the one you kept coming back to for more. If you go (which I strongly recommend you do) then make sure this is on the top of your ordering list.
Along with the other dishes here mentioned… of course.
Finally that moment in the night came, we looked across from one another with cheeky grins and glints in the eyes and the question was asked: do we go for dessert?
The answer came back unanimous.
All squeal, yes!
Miraculously, we found a sweet spot needing to be filled. We chose the puddings which sounded the most interesting- curious diners rather than the truth, which was greedy diners.
The white chocolate mousse with pickled nectarines, honeycomb & mint went down a refreshing treat, whilst the cinnamon and milk tart accompanied with chestnut ice cream and cranberry jam was a surprising, and delicious, combination.
We polished off a more than perfect meal. Each dish was a stand-out and each ingredient added something magical- as my dining companion eloquently put it: “there were no passengers on the plates”.
Ember Yard was recently voted in the top three of London’s best restaurants by TimeOut- and now it’s clear to see why. The food is what dreams are made of- I can’t rave about it enough.