All Fired Up: Chef Josh Boutwood's New Restaurant is a Haven for Meat Lovers
loader image
All Fired Up: Chef Josh Boutwood’s New Restaurant is a Haven for Meat Lovers

All Fired Up: Chef Josh Boutwood’s New Restaurant is a Haven for Meat Lovers

Food & Entertaining | May 20, 2022
  • 1

With chic interiors that contrast a masculine menu, Chef Josh Boutwood aims to redefine the art of cooking in his newest restaurant: Ember.

Firing up the grill once more, innovator and maverick chef Josh Boutwood debuts yet another modern concept that’s sure to provide a memorable dining experience. With three restaurants under his belt—intimate fine-dining spot Helm, pre-industrial and adventurous concept Savage, and casual yet sophisticated restaurant The Test Kitchen—the chef adds another one to his illustrious portfolio: Ember.

Set in Greenbelt 3, Makati—a hotspot for foodies and the shopping destination of gilded folk—Ember smolders with sophistication. Much like Savage, which cooks food with pre-industrial methods using fire, smoke, and ash for a more primal feel, Ember also capitalizes on what fire can do to food—but done differently, of course.

Ember is a sophisticated evolution of Savage with [a] high emphasis on amazing ingredients and a more delicate cooking method,” Chef Josh explains. “While fire is [more] Savage, after it blazes through the material, what is left glowing from your flame is the Ember, which is actually the best to cook on.”

Ember borrows concepts from both Test Kitchen and Savage through the use of fire and produce-driven cooking methods.

A Paradox of Industrial and Chic Interiors

Taking inspiration from the industrialist look of Savage and the dark walls of The Test Kitchen, Chef Josh paints the very picture of an elegant and inviting dining destination for Ember. In fact, eagle-eyed patrons may see lingering echoes of his many restaurant concepts when dining in, as each area makes use of familiar themes and motifs.

By marrying industrial with chic, Ember’s entrance greets you with textured white floors and high ceilings. Blue chairs line the counter—a more curvature C-shape compared to Helm’s angular L-shape—where you can witness all the cooking and prep work firsthand. And tucked away between white pillars are long tables for dining with friends and family—set against white brick walls.

Transition further and you will find concrete grays and rectangular tiles for the industrial section, while low-lit, dark tones greet you upstairs for a more intimate upstairs dining area. While all seemingly different looks, it all somehow harmoniously blends well together.

“All of my restaurants are positioned to create memories—the warm feeling of enjoying good food in a great atmosphere. Our aim is that every meal at Ember is logged as a beautiful memory,” he explains.

The interiors, while classy and elegant, evoke a comforting sense of home and familial warmth.

Ember: A Taste of Home

Despite the borrowed nuances here and there, Ember exists as a unique dining concept of its own. However, during the initial planning stages, this wasn’t the case. “Originally, Ember was supposed to be a mix of Savage and Test Kitchen—combined together. But when it came to testing, we suddenly realized that we were creating a whole new brand concept from scratch,” Chef Josh shares in an interview with

“Even though a lot of what we do [is similar]—the fire that is represented by Savage [and] the produce concept that is driven by Test Kitchen, now that we’re plating it, I feel like they’re similar, but very different concepts,” he adds.

And thus, the birth of Ember. While the overall ambiance and interiors of the restaurant may be likened to fine dining and elegance, the restaurant intends to evoke the warm feelings of enjoying a relaxing meal. “I want to trigger memories of Sunday feasts spent with family, where the kids, parents, and grandparents gather for a leisurely meal of items freshly grilled from a backyard barbecue without having to lift a finger.”

“In my mind, it is enjoying dry-aged steaks—absolutely perfectly done with just the right amount of smokiness and paired with a glass of wine,” he says, adding that his team of approachable staff will treat guests like family. “Essentially, it is going to [be] sophisticated yet warm, with earth tones and a splash of olive green and red for accent.”

Chef Josh in his element—experimenting, cooking, and plating in the kitchen.
Octopus, Harissa, and Lemon.
Turbot, Brown Butter, and Capers.

All Eyes on the Meat

In his many restaurant concepts, Chef Josh’s cooking philosophy has always veered away from limitations. Seeking instead to gather inspiration from different cuisines, his dishes are just as diverse in selection, taste, and flavor. However, one thing remains certain: the star will always be the meat.

While most chefs turn to marinades and sauces that steal the spotlight from the meat, Chef Josh prefers to let it speak for itself. “On meats, we want to as much as possible let the meat be itself,” he explains. “Rather than marinating the meat, where you’re essentially hiding the true flavor, we want to let the meat… be the meat.

How so? Through a wide variety of cooking methods—from convection ovens to stovetops, hearths, and a smoker to infuse a smoked essence in the dishes. “[The meat] is simply grilled in the fire, or we let the fire do the work, depends on how it’s cooked. Just a bit of salt—we don’t put spices on the meat—and then we’re pairing it with particular ingredients that are supposed to enhance that flavor of the meat.”

At Ember, the meat speaks for itself.
A 21oz slab of Striploin WX Wagyu—cooked to perfection.

That’s where the produce-driven concept from Test Kitchen comes in. With side dishes that use fresh vegetables and staples like rice and potatoes, each one is artfully prepared in a simplistic but flavor-packed wayone that does not overpower, nor steal away your focus from the meat.

Take for example the carrot side dish. While made up of only three ingredients—carrots, honey, and all-spice—it comes packed with a lot of flavors. With a distinct smokiness, paired with a subtle sweetness that blends so wonderfully well with the light char, it even comes with a smattering of sorghum (commonly mistaken for popcorn), which adds texture to an otherwise soft dish.

Side dishes include fresh vegetables like carrots and cucumbers, as well as staples like rice and potatoes

What to Eat at Ember

From Small Plates as its brand of starters to Large Plates for the mains, Side Dishes to go with your meal, and Desserts to end things on a sweet note, each dish showcases the best of what each ingredient has to offer, and acts as a true testament to the master who wields the flame. Must-haves include:

Raw Tuna, Avocado, and Tapioca

Not everything in Ember passes through the flame, as evidenced by this dish. However, it does retain the same elements of letting the meat speak for itself with elements that seek to elevate, not overpower it.

A starter that showcases diced fresh tuna, paired with a creamy avocado puree. Crunchy tapioca—a borrowed concept from Helm—makes a return appearance as it mimics puffy chips that go on top of the dish. While delicate in appearance, each bite is brimming with umami flavors.

Raw Tuna, Avocado, and Tapioca.

Bone Marrow, Sourdough, and Parsley

A must for meat lovers, but one that will require you to (in Chef Josh’s words), “book an appointment at Makati Med in the next few hours.” This dish is best enjoyed fresh off the flame, as it features soft, buttery bites of beefy goodness, which you can spread on toasted sourdough.

And to offset the richness, make sure to eat it with some tangy, lemon-infused parsley—one that resembles chimichurri in appearance, but comes with a more grassy flavor and crunchy texture.

Bone Marrow, Sourdough, and Parsley.

Alaskan King Salmon, Watercress, and Capers

For pescetarians, seafood fans, and non-beef eaters such as myself, this main dish is truly an indulgent one. With a large slab of Alaskan King Salmon as the star, you get lightly salted, flaky fish paired with crunchy watercress greens, finished off with a light milky sauce with capers on the side.

Cooked to perfection with hardly any fishy aftertaste, it is best enjoyed with creamy mashed potatoes or a personal favorite: the carrot side dish for some honeyed sweetness.

Alaskan King Salmon, Watercress, and Capers.

Melon, Serrano Ham, and Thyme

There’s just something about how melon and ham go so well together, and this starter is proof of that. Thinly-sliced, salty Serrano ham goes on top of diced melon and a sprinkling of thyme and oil finishes everything off. A prelude to delicious offerings to come, this is truly a good way to start the Ember experience.

Melon, Serrano Ham, and Thyme.

While still in the beginning stages of operations (as it opened just last May 15, 2022), Ember has already curated an impressive menu with dishes that you’re sure to love at first bite. And yes, more exciting things are to come, as a source tells me that the menu may change over time, depending on where Chef Josh’s creativity takes him.

As he so aptly puts it, “Expect nothing but the best—no boundaries, just exceptional food.”

Photos from Chef Josh Boutwood


At the Helm: Chef Josh Boutwood on Being Pandemic-Ready

Crafted with Excellence: Nespresso Launches Two New Coffee Blends

A Passion for Food and Fashion: Get to Know Girl Boss Rebecca Disini

Ember is located at the Greenbelt Mall in Makati City, with al fresco seating available for patrons. You may follow them on Instagram and Facebook for the latest news and updates. To reserve call or text (+63)9164201600. is your all-in-one access pass to exclusive content from a wide variety of lifestyle experts, thought leaders, influencers and leading content creators here in the Philippines and around the world. is a prestige media brand of One Mega Group, Inc.


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Marga Medrano-Tupaz


FASHION Amina Arañaz-Alunan Jojie Lloren Robby Carmona Patty Ang Candy Dizon Francis Libiran | BEAUTY Dr. Vicky Belo Kim Reyes-Palanca Marie Lozano Firas Abboud Jude Hipolito and Rose Velasco (JuRo) Jigs Mayuga | LUXURY Bianca Salonga JP Tuason Jeanette Ipapo-Tuason Marlon Stöckinger | TRAVEL Vern Enciso Ferdi Salvador Marie Field-Faith | TECH & GADGETS Carlo Ople Enrique Miranda Gerry Sy | HOME & DESIGN Geewel Fuster Kitty Bunag Tessa Alindogan Vianca Favila | BUSINESS & CAREER Franco Saycon Venus Navalta Eric Dee Dr. Z Teo Pinky Tobiano Atty. Connie Aquino | ENTERTAINMENT Girlie Rodis MJ Marfori G3 San Diego Georcelle Dapat Sy / G-Force | FOOD & ENTERTAINING Aüa Chino Hernandez Happy Ongpauco-Tiu Nina Daza-Puyat Robby Goco JJ Yulo | PARENTING Cat Arambulo-Antonio Paulyne Fermin Michelle Aventajado Jerika Ejercito Aguilar Celine Gabriel Lim | FITNESS & WELLNESS Nadine Tengco Harvie de Baron Sara Black Arnold Aninion Teresa Herrera Anthon Tanya Aguila Simon Greatwich | WEDDINGS Marbee Shing-Go Amanda Tirol Charisse Tinio Jason Magbanua Gideon Hermosa Robert Blancaflor | YOUTH Chris Nick Milka Romero Miko Tiu Laurel Janeena Chan


SALES DIRECTOR Maureen Alexis Busto
Chloe Tapucar, Jasmine Co Leng, Ivan Panganiban,
Anna Chua, Lexi Malongga


Marketing Communication Manager Pam Rodriguez
Ad & Promo Manager Brent James Castro
Copywriter / Social Media Associate Rowan Palomares
Social Media AssociateKyla Nicole Taal
Multimedia Artist Agatha Romero
Producer Elishua Balinton
Video Editor Andrew Ciudad


Sr Video Editor Jasper Bermejo
Video Editors Kenneth Dimaano
Video Editor / Producer Regina Aceron
Audio Visual & Technical Assistant
Andrew Ciudad


Creative Services Supervisor Kristoff Sison
Multimedia Artists Gari Rivera, Elmer Pereira,
Niel Jhed Ibay
Copywriters Peaches Garcia, Althea Villanueva,
Roanna Alonzo,
Chad Losanta, Christina Zabat


Production & Logistics Manager ERICA LUNA
Booking Associate Mae Talaid, KZ Francisco
Pull Out Coordinator & Production & Logistics AssistantMJ Almero


Production and Studio Manager Ed Simon
Photographer Kieran Punay, Excel Panlaque
Final Artists Eric Gallego
Cameraman JR Ramirez


Sr Video Editor Jasper Bermejo
Video Editor / Producer Regina Aceron


AVP for MARKETING & PUBLISHING Marga Medrano-Tupaz
VP for CONTENT Peewee Isidro


PRESIDENT Suki Salvador
CHAIRMAN Archie Carrasco


AVP - Business Development Carmelli Daet


Head of Consumer Marketing and Circulations Arriane Sanchez
Consumer Marketing Associate Champ Bersales
Multimedia Artist Hilrey Batolan


HR Manager Mairen Buan
Organizational Development and HR Tech Supervisor Lorenzon Miguel Barbeyto
HR Supervisor Vanessa Orpilla
Sr Payroll Associate Angielica Baril
Recruitment Associate Michelle Grace Flores


Web Development Manager and MIS OIC  Carlo Tumaliuan
Web Developer Supervisor  King Villarta
Jr Web Designer  Jen-Lyn Dumlao
Senior IT Associate  Jomer Calleja


Admin & Purchasing Manager Avy Lagarto
Office Support Associate Jorean Ann Flores
Company Driver Bernard Dela Cruz


Legal Counsel Atty.   Homer Alinsug
OIC-Corporate Legal   Avy Lagarto


Finance Manager Rachel Cabagua
Finance Supervisor Janin Tabora
Credit & Collection Supervisor Nainine Buenaobra
Senior Treasury Associate Maileen Capilitan
Senior Accounting Associate John Dela Torre
General Accounting Associate Ruffa Dela Pena
Accounting Associate Zarah Mira


Head of Corporate Affairs and Business Expansion Rodolfo Palanca Jr.
Copy Chief Andrea Eliza Santos
Corporate Affairs Associate Margaux Pua
Creatives Associate Alecs Beltran


Chief Operating Officer Ma. Cecilia Ngo
Executive Assistant to the COO Thea Pamela So


Chairman & President Archie Carrasco