Ember Yard is a restaurant that both Vicky and I have wanted to visit for ages, it literally must have been over a year! We finally got the sample the selection of charcuterie and tapas as I booked us a table one Saturday afternoon, for post-birthday celebrations and a much-needed catch up!
Just down Berwick Street, Ember Yard is slightly hidden from the bustle of Oxford Street and easily accessible from Oxford Circus tube station. Even on a Saturday afternoon, I couldn’t believe how quiet the streets were and the restaurant wasn’t overly busy either, just nicely full. We ate on the main floor, but downstairs is a bar and private dining area, perfect for larger parties celebrating an occasion or just wanting to have their own unique experience. It’s quite a small place, but really beautiful and light inside. There’s even an open kitchen and of course, the establishment prides itself on small plates inspired by Spanish and Italian cuisine – so totally up my street!
We began with drinks while perusing the menu – and quite honestly, I wanted every cocktail going! I settled on a glass of prosecco, while Vicky chose a Bellini. She said it was one of the better ones she’d had and it did look incredible. My prosecco was perfectly chilled and sparkling – there’s nothing worse than having the dregs of a bottle!
The menu is all about sharing, with a variety of small and large tapas, bar snacks and charcuterie boards. There’s also a really good mix of dishes: meats, fish, vegetarian options, catering for everyone, whatever their tastes. Everything sounded amazing and had we been in a larger group, I’m sure we would have sampled so much more. That said, we did manage to get through a handful of dishes!
We began with the grilled flatbread with smoked butter, thyme and honey and the padron peppers. The bread was so light and soft, almost pillow-like and resembled a giant crumpet. The butter and honey had melted all over the top and it was just really lovely. Vicky said she could have eaten five of these by herself – so that’s the challenge for next time! I love padron peppers, it’s amazing how something so incredibly simple can taste so good. Whenever I’m in Spain, I have to have them and I have fond memories of family holidays and my auntie frying them in the kitchens of rented villas! I didn’t get any of the hot ones, luckily, but they’re such a good starter.
Next up, we sampled the chorizo skewers with saffron aioli. Each cocktail stick consisted of three pieces of meat and not knowing what kind of portion to expect, I regret not ordering more than skewer. The saffron aioli was beautiful, so smoky and complemented the chorizo well. The chorizo was accompanied by a portion of the iberico pork fat chips, which again, were to die for. They were exactly how chips should be: hand cut, crisp but fluffy inside and well-seasoned. I’m not sure what they were topped with, but it really enhanced the flavour and they were so moreish. The chorizo ketchup was quite tomato-y and sweet, for me, it just missed that sucker punch of paprika or spice.
After a short pause, we went on to order a couple more dishes. I really wanted to try one of the charcuterie boards and chose the Spanish selection: chorizo iberico, salsichon iberico and lomo doblado. It was such a good option to sit and pick at as we were starting to fill full, but it would have equally gone well with the bread and peppers we started with. Vicky also chose something she’d had her eye on – the mozzarella on grilled ciabatta. Topped with pesto and served with roasted aubergines and chilli, it made for a table centrepiece. The cheese was huge and definitely made for sharing!
We could have no complaints about the service, especially as everything was cooked to order and brought to the table – and we were able to order as much as we wanted, when we liked. I wanted to try a couple of the cocktails, but I’ll be saving that for next time, as I definitely know I’ll be returning!
Love, Lucy xx