Ember Yard win the 2017 Croquetas Challenge

ember2The Ember Yard winning croquetas set with octopus suckers

The basement of Ember Yard was thronged last night with hordes of folk set on one thing and one thing only - croquetas. Yes, the second Croquetas Challenge turned out to be an interesting affair with entrants from 13 restaurants, all vying to prise the crown from last year's winner, Aqua Nueva.

On the judging panel were yours truly, along with the Guardian's Bob Granleese and Time Out's Drinks Editor Laura Richards with the evening carried along by compere Joe Wright, fresh from his exertions at last night's Bubbledogs Hotdog Challenge.

Compared to last year's entries, the 2017 entrants seemed keen to distance themselves in the main from traditional croquetas - only one entry, from Naughty Piglets, went down the straight ham route. So we had everything from black pudding with Guinness sauce to braised oxtail with mushroom aioli

farangFarang's fish sauce salted beef cheek croquetas

In the end, though, there had to be a winner and this year it turned out to be the hosts, Ember Yard, whose extraordinary looking octopus and jamon croquetas with charcoal emulsion and lemon looked like something from the Clangers. Second was Farang with a fantastic fish sauce salted beef cheek croquetas with pickled Fresh bamboo shoot and burnt chilli sauce and third was Yosma with their Pastirma and Kasar cheese croqueta.

Ever the gracious hosts, Ember Yard turned down their prize, allowing the fourth place entry, Sibarita to also jump onto the winners' plinth. And a Most Creative prize was given to Kitty Fishers for their 70s take with ham hock croquetas featuring Montgomery cheddar andd pineapple piccalilli.

Congratulations to all those who took part - it can't be easy trying to get your croquetas done to perfection in an someone else's kitchen and some of the presentation was out of this world. And check out our Facebook page where we'll be putting up a full gallery of all the croquetas. And if you want to try the winning entry, head down to Ember Yard where it'll be served up for the next week.


Croquetas gallery

See the full gallery of entries over on our Facebook page