Ember Yard

Why go here:

For tapas with Italian and Spanish influences and with a focus on charcoal grilling.

What it looks like:

The place has a rustic feel to it. Wooden tables, low lighting that you are bound to bump your head against them,  banquettes and more traditional bar seating. Service is very quick and attentive.  Waiters were friendly and happy to walk us through the menu.

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The food:

We started with the courgette flower stuffed with goat’s cheese and drizzled with honey. The courgette flower was soft and with gooey goat’s cheese in the middle, all fried up in a light fluffy batter that was thin and golden and crispy. The honey enhanced the mild, sweet taste of the courgette flower and added some very pleasant addition to the textures in the dish. My only complaint is that they didn’t tell me the dish was piping hot- I almost burnt my tongue with that first bite!

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Next we chose something the seafood section- the smoked & grilled Cornish Mackerel which was dished with Fennel Escabeche, thinly-sliced fennel in an orange and vinegar dressing, and a fresh Saffron Aioli. The fish was crisp skinned and white, flaky inside. The combination with fennel made a surprisingly scrumptious dish.

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The roasted and chargrilled Ibérico Pork Ribs with Quince Glaze and Celeriac Purée was the best ribs dish I’ve ever had. The portions were all large but the ribs were particularly massive.  Gloucester Old Spot Pork Belly, coated in a sweet and sticky sauce chargrilled and a hint of apple. The celeriac helps balance the richness of the roasted belly. This is dish you can’t quite eat with cutlery- get in there with your hands. It’s worth it.

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Finally, we had the burrata- a Spanish cheese similar to Mozzarella which was stuffed with garlic pesto and served atop a toasted ciabatta and roast tomatoes. Maybe because the ribs were so good or maybe because after all the dishes my expectations were set very high, I was disappointed in this dish. The roast tomatoes weren’t seasoned enough and there wasn’t enough pesto.

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Verdict:

Really delicious tapas, good portion sizes and an extensive range of wines, make this a must try tapas bar. It was ranked the best restaurant in 2014 by people’s choice and you can see why. Perfect for a date night with the rustic, romantic vibes, the delicious plates to share and the flowing wine.

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