Deputy Editor Miranda McMinn tries out a charcuterie bar & grill in the heart of Soho
Standing in Soho on a Saturday night is not the time to start experimenting with bars and restaurants. The pubs look faded and generic and the bars all scream ‘bridge and tunnel’. So it’s a great relief that we’ve secured a booking at Ember Yard on Berwick Street – the Oxford Street end.
This is an atmospheric Italian/Spanish fusion bar that offers an original cocktail selection, a fabulous wine list and sharing platters, tapas style. There are tables but we are seated at the bar which, it turns out, is way more fun, plus you get the best of the highly knowledgeable barman’s advice on what to eat and drink. The interior is traditional bodega-style – the bar is highly polished wood – and with the buzzing atmosphere of high volume cocktail-fuelled chat you feel you could be in Barcelona or Rome.
I would recommend starting with a cocktail – rude not to really. The ‘Il Profumo di Maria’ is a showstopper, coming with actual bonfire smoke (‘cherry smoke’) that infuses the other ingredients of vodka, violets, elderflower and prosecco. The food, which comes in a succession of small plates, is beautifully cooked without being overly complicated, plus the plates are small and affordable enough to really order up a few.
We ordered finely sliced prosciutto; steamed and chargrilled octopus with pepperonata; roasted and chargrilled Iberico pork ribs with quince glaze and celeriac puree; chargrilled salt marsh lamb gigot – all were delicious, while the courgette flowers stuffed with goats cheese were a triumph. Fortunately there was also room for a white chocolate cheesecake with macerated strawberries, which it would have been a crime to miss out on.
The atmosphere at Ember Yard was good enough for a really enjoyable night out, but the food took it into a different league. Soho on a Saturday night? I’ll be back.
Ember Yard (60 Berwick Street, London, W1F 8SU) is open Monday to Sunday from 12pm-12am and Sunday from 12pm-10.30pm. Call 020 7439 8057 or visit emberyard.co.uk.