“You can create minor miracles with fire, smoke, ashes and soot”.
Thus is the philosophy of the chef behind one of Sweden’s most pioneering chefs, who does most of his pioneering by looking to the past, specifically to the moment when man tamed fire itself, and (in Ekstedt’s opinion) when cooking technology essentially peaked. So at his London restaurant, Ekstedt at The Yard, they cook everything with just that: fire and wood. No gas, no electricity. You get the impression that Ekstedt would shoot a microwave on sight.
It’s not all just amped up BBQ, either – his Stockholm restaurant has a Michelin Star, and he’s pouring the same creativity & craft into his London outpost, too. You’ll find it in the newly revamped Great Scotland Yard hotel (hence ‘at the Yard’). After wandering past the various pictures of flinty bobbies, dour criminals, and other Victorian criminal justice paraphernalia, you’ll get to the restaurant, with its undulating ceiling, and its warming tones of wood interspersed with cold-climate flowers & shrubs. Despite the history steeped venue, and the rustic informality of the cooking style (and the fact that each table is lit with a wick in an oyster shell) it all feels very modern.
At the back guarding the entrance to the kitchen is a huge wood oven, like a big black monolith, with a gaping orange maw of fire. And peeking out from behind it is the grill, laden with wood (specifically birch wood), with flames licking the smoke hood above. And its fro both of these that the whole menu is created. One of the many inventive creations is their oyster, pepared with a medieval device called a flambadou, which uses melted hot fat to drop into the bivalve and cook it. They even scorch their lobster this way.
After that, the starters include hay-smoked Orkney scallops with sea herbs, and ember baked trout with charcoal cream. The larger dishes run from the likes of charcoal roasted pork neck with fermented gooseberries, to juniper smoked John Dory with brown butter & hips cabbage. To say it’s all smoky would be an understatement of sorts. And to say it’s delicious would be likewise.
The flames reach even the desserts (try the wood oven baked Alaska with elderflower ice cream, it’s sensational) and the cocktails. Of course, there’s wine too, and even a selection of kombuchas that you can pair up with your meal, too. It’s not cheap, but for what you’re getting, it’s certainly reasonable value.
So you won’t get burned.
NOTE: Ekstedt at The Yard is open now, Tuesday – Saturday. You can find out more and make a booking at the website right here.
Great Scotland Yard | 3-5 Scotland Yard, SW1A 2HW
Fancy a nightcap? Head to one of the best bars in Covent Garden…
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