So tonight I’m in Soho. Even on a rainy night (yes, it’s been raining a lot!), the streets are teeming with happy, excited people heading to the theatre, their favourite bar or to try one of the myriad of restaurants that make up the wonderful world that is life in Soho. And I’m one of them.
There’s a new member in the Salt Yard family. Ember Yard (their fourth restaurant) is in the heart of Soho and opened in December last year. I’m happy to say I’ve been to the other three, and loved them all. So bring on Ember Yard.
Described as taking inspiration from the Spanish and Italian method of cooking over charcoal (hence the embers I guess!), there’s a menu packed with tempting morsels. And it’s quite different, with new flavour combinations to ponder. I always find a bowl of olives helps with the pondering…so that’s what we started with while we made some serious menu decisions.
The chargrilled squid came on a beautifully sweet and silken bed of puree and was served with crispy pancetta and a tingling taste of chilli. A fabulous dish that’s worth a return visit on its own with its sweetness and saltiness and lovely textures.
These perfect croquettes were made of broad bean, smoked ricotta and min and served with garlic pesto. Crispy, soft and melt-in-the-mouth.
The Spanish know what to do with their pigs – how to breed them, cook them, serve them. And today I was in for a special treat. The presa is considered to be the finest cut of the Iberian pig – kind of the pork equivalent to Wagyu beef and this grilled Iberico presa, served with whipped jamon butter (I know, amazing) was in a different league. Tender, packed with flavour and so moreish, I could eat plates of it!
The chargrilled Wye Valley asparagus was served with earthy girolles, beurre blanc and truffles. Earthy flavours and asparagus with bite.
The air is filled with the aroma of flavours emanating from the grill – it did cross my mind that this is a seriously superior way of barbecuing. The service is friendly and unrushed and everyone makes you feel very welcome. Our waitress, who was from Tenerife, had a proper Penelope Cruz accent going on, I love Penelope Cruz’s voice…so that added to the enjoyment in my latest Soho discovery. Welcome to the family, Ember Yard.