Ember Yard is the fourth restaurant from the celebrated Salt Yard Group. It has an enviable location off Oxford Street. Yes, ‘off’ is preferable to ‘on’ in this case. These streets are for those in the know rather than those who are lost on the way to Primark. There is great food to be had if you know where to find it. Here we find Ember Yard.
The restaurant has hints of both Spain and Italy and their love of cooking over coals. It’s a destination eatery at any time but it takes on a different persona when it presents its Sunday Feast and it truly is a considerable spread, with the finest seasonal produce on the menu.
Sunday attracts couples and small groups. It tempts families with kids and grandparents. It invites discerning young people looking for quality and excellent value for money, and within minutes of an Underground station.
Ember Yard has an open-plan kitchen on the ground floor with comfortable leather banquettes and tables, or stools and raised counters for those nimbler than am I. There is a bar on the lower ground floor along with more seating and an area that can be used for private dining.
This Sunday menu is one of the best value meals of its genre in London. £35 per person with free-flowing Prosecco, red or white wine and with a two-and-a-half-hour reservation is a pretty good deal. This isn’t the venue for alcohol guzzlers but it’s always good to find a spot where one doesn’t have to watch the clock. This food is designed to be shared with conviviality and style. The Sunday Feasting menu is available for tables of up to 8 guests. Reservations can be made from 12 noon until 8pm.
One starts with Antipasti and on this day it was Pistachio Mortadella, Grilled Flat Bread with Smoked Butter and Thyme, Josper Baked Squash, Oregano, Toasted Walnuts and Crostini, and Pecorino with Truffle Honey. Mortadella is a rather overlooked cold cut and it’s a shame as it’s prized on the Continent for both its taste and melting texture. The star of the starter platter was really a condiment but an exceptional one, and memorable. That Truffle Honey is a shining golden drizzle of aromatic flavour. This would also be a delight on baked figs with prosciutto. I can almost taste it! They should sell this honey by the bottle.
Mop up the sauce
Primi was Potato Gnocchi and Cime di Rape with Smoked Egg Yolk and Gorgonzola, and Steamed Cornish Mussels with Fino Sherry, Chickpeas, Parsley and Garlic. Dear Ember Yard: Please don’t take that Gnocchi off the menu. Best wishes for the New Year, Your addicted diner. PS. Please tell your guests to save some of the grilled bread from the starter to mop up the sauce, as licking the plate is never a good look.
Secondi: Arroz Negro with Charcoal Grilled Squid, Chilli and Lemon, and Smoked and Slow Cooked Gloucester Old Spot Pork Cheeks with Celeriac Purée, Grilled Apple, Garlic Migas and Crispy Sage. The squid was outstanding, but the substantial portions of previous courses didn’t leave much room. Do save as much space as possible for that pork. It’s tender, glossy and flavourful and perfectly paired with the celeriac which was mild and creamy.
Dolce was the sweet end to the Ember Yard adventure. PX Raisin Affogato, Dulce de Leche and Salted Chocolate Crumb might not be the most colourful dessert but it’s a winner for coffee lovers. Polenta and Almond Cake, Poached Rhubarb, Whipped Mascarpone and Toasted Almonds was the second pud, which had elements of both Italy and England. A delicious finale.
The Sunday Feast at Amber Yard is designed for those who appreciate well-composed dishes paired with a glass or two of your chosen libation. It’s a BYOC restaurant – that’s bring your own company, but everything else is provided in fine fashion at Ember Yard.
Monday – Friday: 12 noon – 11pm
Saturday: 12 noon – 12 midnight
Sunday and Bank Holidays: 12 noon – 10pm
60 Berwick Street
Phone: +44 (0) 207 439 8057
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018