First Impressions: Ember Yard, Berwick Street
As the fourth restaurant in the Salt Yard Group which specialises in Spanish and italian food Ember Yard has a fine pedigree but does it live up to its stablemates?
Certainly first impressions suggest the group is after a rather different customer from its normal hispanophile clientele. It’s expensively kitted out in a smooth international traveller kind of way - the brightly coloured rough-painted mural of vineyards could come from any 5 star hotel while the pre-Christmas the office parties (hopefully now firmly back in their offices) gave it a vibe that felt very different from the group's other bars.
The food is, as always, good - in the case of some dishes excellent. The menu is similar to their other joints (why change a winning formula?) - platters of charcuterie and cheese and more substantial small plates of 'modern tapas' but, as the name of the restaurant suggests, there’s a greater emphasis on grilling.
There’s a discrepancy between the size of the portions that makes it a little hard to order. I resented sharing my rather delicious smoked bream carpaccio but the generous portion of chargrilled chicory with vin cotto would have served up to four. Veggies are also priced at not much less than dishes with more expensive ingredients. As is generally the case with this style of eating it’s easy to run up a sizeable bill particularly if you cut loose on the excellent wine list.
Given they make a feature of sourcing and sustainability I was surprised to see courgette flowers on the menu in December but otherwise what we ate - some wickedly good quince glazed iberico pork with celeriac purée, parsnip chips with manchego (now why has no-one thought of that before?) and an intensely rich chocolate ganacha with salted caramel ice cream felt spot on for the time of year. Oh, and don't miss the flatbread!
I suspect the best way to use Ember Yard - as with other restaurants in the group - is as a glass-and-a-dish-or-two tapas bar. As a well-placed refuge from the steaming hell of Oxford Street, I liked it more than enough to give it another go but suspect my favourite restaurant of the group will remain the rather cosier Opera Tavern (in Covent Garden).
Ember Yard is at 60-61 Berwick Street, London W1F 8SU. Tel: 020 7439 8057. The website is emberyard.co.uk though at the time of writing it’s not yet fully operational. Their other restaurants are Salt Yard and Dehesa.
I ate at Ember Yard as a guest of the Salt Yard group.
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