Just the words "set menu" are enough to send chills up my spine. Too many meals where normally good restaurants send out lukewarm tomato soup or over-chilled pâté followed by woolly salmon or woody chicken, I suppose. But on Saturday we celebrated a friend's Big Birthday with a dinner at Ember Yard, which was so good I may have to change my mind about set menus. Or whinge twice as loud the next time I have one that doesn't match up...
I was having a lovely time, so I didn't get pictures of everything and the pictures I did get are not my finest work. And I didn't manage to taste everything; there was just so much!
The seafood and vegetable tapas came out next. As a person who sees little point in kohlrabi I was impressed by how delicious it was in the tomato salad.
Toriciya in Sydney, which have always been our benchmark. I don't know what the difference between aioli, as served with the arancini, and alioli, as here, is, but this was a beautifully black, salty, garlicky sauce.
Ibérico pork to be served a bit pink, and it was the perfect treatment for the grilled presa (a cut from the shoulder at the head of the loin). The whipped jamón butter was divine with it - I couldn't help thinking how good it would be on toast, but better not think about how calorific it is.
There was, apparently, birthday cake to follow, but we had to scuttle for the last train home. And with the best will in the world I don't think I could have fit in another bite.
ETA I found out today that the head chef at Ember Yard is called Jacques Fourie. He is no relation, unto the third generation, so this is honestly as unbiased as a lot of lovely alcohol can make me.