Ember Yard – Soho, London

Can you book? Yes
Food: 6/10
Atmosphere: 6/10*
Price paid per person: £40

*I went on a Sunday night, never a particularly atmospheric night anywhere.

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.

The absolute winners were grilled flatbread with honey, thyme and smoked butter, spicy chicken wings with romesco, courgette flowers stuffed with goats cheese and drizzled with honey, and smoked chicken liver pate on crostini with pickled mushrooms. Concern over carb intake flew out the window more quickly than a teenage girl flocks to Johnny Depp once I got a whiff of the sweet thyme flatbread; cutlery was far too much of a barrier between me and the chicken when it came to the spicy wings; hitting the goats cheese inside the courgette flower was akin to opening a budget secret santa present to find a diamond encrusted Cartier watch, and the chicken liver pate on crostini was perfect: satisfying, rich, salty and crunchy.

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I took real offence to the smoked bream carpaccio, in fact I don’t want to discuss it for fear of feeling a bit sick. It smelt and tasted too fishy and didn’t taste right smoked.

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The next dishes were pretty good and saved the day; lamb burger with aubergine, smoked ricotta gnocchi gratin with roasted squash, and grilled salmon with kale and horseradish veloute.

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Dessert was another winner; apple pannacotta with vanilla biscuit and dark chocolate sorbet. It was an excellent portion size (nobody wants to be squeezed through the door upon exiting and have to be rolled home) and it sparked a unanimous “ahh that’s so good” from the table.

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As is probably the way with many tapas restaurants, some dishes you win, some you lose. If you’re happy taking such chances then Ember Yard is for you. £40 per head (with wine), an aesthetically pleasing wine cellar to look at, and very friendly and efficient service.

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Square Meal

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