The smoking trend continues at Ember Yard, the latest restaurant from the guys who bought us Opera Tavern, Salt Yard and Dehesa.
Built around a huge grill, Ember Yard is styled out in mahogany tones, with wooden-slab tables, lots of exposed copper and a fabulous basement cocktail bar. Northern Spanish food is served up super smokey from the charcoal and silver birch used in abundance in their kitchen.
On the recommendation of our incredible waitress we started off with a smoked chorizo skewer with an earthy-rich saffron alioli (£2.50), salty padron peppers (£4.25) and chipirones (£3.50). These beautiful baby squid had been deep fried to perfection with capers and sage leaves.
Next we moved on to an epic selection of shared plates including a delicate carpaccio of smoked bream with nuggets of tart blood orange (£6.25). The wafe-like slivers of milky fish, were covered in a rich olive oil and tangy dressing that gave way to a wonderful smoky aftertaste. It was so delicate compared to the other big flavours we had, and I think my favourite dish on the menu.
Chargrilled cuttlefish with pumpkin and N’dulja (£7.25) made me love pumpkin again. The soft smoky flavour of the pumpkin melted together with the chucks of chewy cuttlefish and handfuls of fragrant wild oregano.
We moved on to chargrilled Ibérico presa (£8.75). Presa is the loin from a shoulder of pork. It is a little fatty, in a good way and utterly divine. It was served pink, in neat rows on a slate plate, with little dots of butter spiked with jamon. One light smear of that porky butter was like adding a layer of edible silk to the pork and left us fork-fighting for the final piece.
Roasted pork ribs with a quince glaze (£7.35) were a little fatty for me, but the chargrilled salt marsh lamb (£6.50) was a triumph. The juicy chop melted into a smoky aubergine mess, all doused in a vibrant green, tangy salsa verde. The flavours mingled together like old friends at a party and plates, well slates, went back licked clean. We felt one chop was rather mean and we could definitely have polished of several more.
The meal flowed beautifully, along with the wine and smoky cocktails. We were constantly recommended new dishes as we went along and I loved that the staff knew everything on the menu without ever being over bearing.
For more information visit emberyard.co.uk