The Smoking Goat, Soho
It’s not surprising people queue for an hour to get a table at this new addition to Soho’s long list of ‘must go’ restaurants.
And (side note), why is it that all the good restaurants are so tiny?
Recommended by a friend of mine, who made it there before the Nudge (but not before Just Opened) – I got lucky last week and grabbed four seats by the bar without even a minute wait (key is arriving before 7pm).
So what’s the deal? The Smoking Goat specialises in ‘Thai Barbecue’. Quite niche and a bit of an odd combo, I thought, before going and realising just how well barbecue and Thai go together.
The menu is very short: Three choices of mains: duck (£15), lamb (£15) or crab (£20).
While I had heard glowing reviews about the cornish crab (and since Fish & Chip Shop City I am now a convert), I was more temped by the lamb. And the others all went for duck. So that crab managed to scuttle away this time.
The food did not disappoint. The meat is served with papaya salad (Tom Sam), a spicy (but seriously tasty) Thai sauce (Jaew) and sticky rice (my favourite). The meat is barbecued over a wood fire (adding that sensational smokey taste and smell), the lamb and duck falling off the bone and exploding with chilli, ginger, garlic, sugar and a gazillion other flavours. I nearly licked the bone.
The space itself is cramped; more of a bar with seating than a proper restaurant as such. It’s hectic, and it feels like the waiters, as helpful as they are, are constantly tripping over themselves and everyone else. But the decor is lovely – I liked their olive green walls and the small quirky touches (the blow fish hanging from the ceiling are random but entertaining, the lamp shades are cute). You can hear every noise from the kitchen but that adds – rather than takes away – from the atmosphere. This is not the place for a long, languid, drawn out dinner. But it’s perfect for a firey bite of Thai delight, a catch up among friends and a glass of wine.
7 Denmark Street
Forgive the terrible photos, it was rather dark inside