Restaurant Review: Ember London

Carole Hamilton checks out Ember in the City, a cross between a bar and restaurant with great music and some rather good food.

Located at the source of the Great Fire of London on the iconic Puddling Lane in the City, Ember clearly takes design inspiration from the history of it’s surroundings; the glowing copper, industrial metals, woods and subtle lighting says that designer Ross McNally has done a great job at creating a premium but still cosy space.

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Everything in Ember whispers quality from the décor to their taste in music which rolled seamlessly from David Bowie to Rag ‘n Bone Man. I’ve read complaints from some on social media that they think the music is too loud for dining but we thought it just about right and conversation still flows easily.

Start with one of Ember’s excellent cocktails – the Cherry Blossom made from blended Japanese whisky, Yuzu Sake, sour cherry, bee pollen and lemon juice packed a sweet and sour punch good enough to tempt me into a second before we turned out attention to the pan Asian menu.

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The food is all made for sharing and you are encouraged to order 2-3 starters and mains which arrive as they are ready and you all dip in. The Scottish lobster and crabmeat martini with a dollop of gin sorbet (£9.90) looks as good as it tastes; the much hyped Char siu pork doughnut (£8.50) I thought less successful with so-so pork wrapped in a rather soggy coating. We loved the ‘Weeping Tiger’ beef fillet (£9.90) and the Wagyu beef buger in an avocado bun (£14.90) was tasty, although the bun is rather an alarming green. It was good to see Cabrito goat on the menu, curried with coconut and chilli (£11.90) which was wonderfully tender and another reminder that meat eaters should sample goat when it’s available on the menu – when cooked well, it is delicious.

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Keep room for the (rather pricey) desserts, all £9 each. The signature Ember Mess is a wicked concoction of poached pear, lemongrass meringue, miso ice-cream, marshmallow and honeycomb and the Peanut butter parfait is a mix of Baileys, salted toffee, peanut brittle and Oreo crumbs – need we say more!

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There’s a good wine list with lots of choice by the glass and the friendly staff are knowledgeable about what’s on offer. All in all, this basement restaurant is something of a find. It was quite quiet on the Tuesday we visited but I am reliably informed that from Thursday to Saturday the place is packed with City workers and out-of-towners drawn by the buzzy atmosphere and the cooking.

Where: Ember, 1a Pudding Lane London EC3R 8AB
Bookings: To make a reservation, phone 0207 608 6545 or email reservations@ember.london

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