If you haven’t been to Thai BBQ favourite the Smoking Goat, go now. If you have, and loved it, then you’ll be pleased to read (though you probably already know) that they opened a sister property, called Kiln. They have got quite a lot in common: they’re in Soho, serve Thai food (mostly with an emphasis on BBQ), are petite in size (though Kiln has got a more seating downstairs) and both offer brisk but friendly service.
But the food is actually very different. More so than I had expected. Kiln serves off the beaten track ‘local’ Thai food. Dishes from small, rural villages. Even a curry from Myanmar, because not only do Thailand and Myanmar share a (substantial) border, but many Burmese live in Northern Thailand. So the influence is heavy. You won’t find a Pad Thai here. There’s very little use of coconut.
And the food is spicy. Again, a lot more so than I had expected. Being greedy I tend to put as much food in my mouth as possible, as quickly as possibly. Before assessing that it might be hot (in both senses of the word). So I did spend a lot of my evening downing water (and wine). I really enjoyed the variation of the dishes, from the lamb & cumin skewer (order one each), to the wild ginger and short rib curry from Burma, to the clay pot baked glass noodles with crab meat. I also liked the spiced sausage with turmeric, and the stir fried cornish greens and soy.
We ate downstairs, which I liked surprisingly. It isn’t a soulless small room where the overflow is forced to sit. It’s quite dark and fun and cosy. If you’re a two though, I’d aim for the seats at the stainless steel kitchen bar (i.e the only seats possible upstairs), then you can watch the chefs work away at the open fires.
The place is buzzing, incredibly popular despite it’s fairly recent opening. Of course you can’t book. But you can put your name and number down for a table. And they do really try their best. Just don’t rock up on a Friday night at 7 and expect to be seated within two hours. It just won’t happen.
So which do I prefer? Smoking Goat or Kiln? It’s hard to say. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, then Kiln may do it for you. But I think all in all, Smoking Goat still wins for me.
58 Brewer Street
Photo credit: Kiln