© Greg Funnell
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Tue Jan 7 2014
Salt Yard, Dehesa, Opera Tavern: three of London’s most enjoyable new-style tapas bars, and they’re all run by the same young company. Ember Yard is the fourth in this growing chain, and builds on the strengths of its forebears, using Italian as well as Spanish dishes and techniques as their inspiration.
What sets Ember Yard apart from its siblings is an even greater emphasis on the grill. If you’ve eaten in a charcoal grill restaurant in the Basque country – or even in a Turkish grill in Dalston – Ember Yard should feel oddly familiar, especially if you’re sitting near the glowing coals. There’s a mixture of bar stools, high counters, dining tables and banquettes on the ground floor; the basement has more of the same but with even more emphasis on the list of house cocktails, and a well-chosen selection of wines by the glass, or even bigger selection by the bottle.
The bar snacks are among the best in Soho. Smoked chorizo oozed flavour, and was served hot with a smooth saffron alioli. Chips are cooked in pork fat, and arrived perfectly crisp. Cheese and charcuterie platters are divided into Spanish or Italian.
Every tapas flavour combination was a winner. Tender octopus was coated in a peperonata sauce, served with a green squirt of the garlic and coriander mayonnaise called mojo verde alioli. Ibérico pork ribs were grilled to melting softness, the flavours of the quince glaze and smear of celeriac purée melding into the warm fat. If we have any caveats at all about the menu – and there aren’t many – it’s that sometimes there’s just a bit much happening on one plate. For example, a delicate carpaccio of sea bream was flavoured with the strong citrus hit of bergamot flesh, with coriander sprouts and gratings of bottarga – cured mullet roe. The citrus overpowered the other more subtle flavours.
We visited Ember Yard three times in a fortnight, and found the cooking consistently good to excellent, the service informal but informed. With any small plates menu of this type, the bill can add up quickly – it’s tempting, once you’ve discovered just how brilliant but small the dishes are, to order some more. Ember Yard’s that sort of place: somewhere you can’t quite get enough of, and are sorry to leave.
Reviewed by Guy Dimond
Ember Yard 60-61 Berwick Street
- Venue phone:
020 7439 8057
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
Open noon-midnight Mon-Wed; noon-1am Thurs-Sat; noon-10pm Sun
Tube: Oxford Circus or Tottenham Court Road
Meal for two with drinks and service: around £75.
- 60-61 Berwick Street
- 020 7439 8057
- 60-61 Berwick Street
- Ember Yard
Average User Rating
5 / 5
- 5 star:4
- 4 star:0
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
Amazing hospitality by the co manager Natasha and lots of help in choosing two great bottles of wine. Loved the atmosphere and the food was really tasty, perfect for groups of friends or a date in the heart of Soho.
Service was good, but the food was not great. The portions were really stingy and not good value for money. Maybe they had an off day, but everything we had from the grill was practically charcoal, and long overcooked. The iberico jamon was also poor for the price. At this level i would expect a deep rich colour and taste, where this example was more like a standard serano jamon. Also they seemed to push a particular type of olive when you order olives. This turns out to be a portion of four olives stuffed with cheese. The cheese did not particularly enhance or match the flavour of the olives, and was not the snack with drinks we were expecting especially at almost a pound per olive. The markup on this is cheeky to say the least.. There are far better examples of this sort of food in the area. Unfortunately I wont be going back.
Absolutely sensational food - all cooked over wood and coal. i loved the chicory with sweet sauce of pomegranate molasses i think and all the meats-chicken with leeks and fish -cod with braised white beans and the grilled cod. the tapas style menu blows others away like barrafina and polpo. service was good if a little messy and clumsy but that didn't matter really. Went on a thursday lunch and it was packed-downstairs was very noisy.
I took some clients to Ember Yard to introduce them to superior tapas eating. They loved it, as did I. Brilliant charming service, delicious plates for my guests' tastes, and the puds are blooming gorgeous. Can't wait to settle in and try all the cocktails too and super-cosy welcoming spot on a dark winter afternoon or evening, or any time really. People, GO. Just not all at once, so I can still get in...
Having been in town on Monday we found the Ember Yard purely by chance whilst looking for somewhere for dinner. Despite not having a reservation we were found a table with no fuss and had a thoroughly enjoyable meal. The food was fantastic and the service was even better. Sadly we didn't have time to enjoy the downstairs cocktail bar but was very busy and lively. All very stylish and had a great feel. Highly recommended!
Food delicious! Staff very friendly and helpful. A worthy new baby Opera Tavern which is a favourite restaurant for all our family. Very stylish setup too.