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Blog, Date Spot, Eat, London

Kiln, Soho

March 27, 2017
Kiln, Soho

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.

Kiln, Soho

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.

Kiln, SohoKiln, Soho

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.

Kiln, Soho

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

Blog, Eat, London

Pitt Cue, City of London / Spitalfields

April 18, 2016
Pitt Cue, City

The original Pitt Cue in Soho was one of my favourite restaurants.  I liked it because it wasn’t perfect; it was all higgledy-piggledy, a bit of a squash and their (not mine) main drink of choice was Bourbon.  But there was so much good about it that you couldn’t help but love it: that phenomenal bone marrow mash and their unforgettable pulled pork.  If it wasn’t for the constant and continued queues, I’d have gone back more often.

And then suddenly it shut and its bigger, brasher and less soulful older sister opened.  Don’t get me wrong: I love the new Pitt Cue.  But it did lack that special atmosphere mini Pitt Cue had.  There are plusses to being bigger: you can book and you no longer have to queue.  That said you should aim to book pretty far in advance (third time lucky for me – and the table I got was still at 6:30pm).  It’s in a warehouse, and looks good, it that now quite standard East London ‘industrial chic’ way.

Pitt Cue, LondonPitt Cue, London

I arrived in a bad mood (it was pissing down with rain / umbrella didn’t work / all public transport had ground to a halt).  But the service here, or perhaps just the lady serving us, was so exceptional, so friendly, and so unaffected by me behaving like a grumpy toddler, that it changed my mood instantly.  That and their Cider Sour – the cocktail ‘special of the day’: it had just enough kick and wasn’t too sweet.  It was gone in minutes.

This place is not for vegetarians.  There is just simply no point coming here if you’re not really into your meat.  Because that’s what it’s all about.  One big warning is that they don’t do the original Pitt Cue pulled pork here.  I was quite upset about this, but when I asked why, I was told, ‘it’s because everyone does it’.  A shame because ‘everyone’ didn’t nail it like Pitt Cue had.  I got over that by ordering the last smoked short rib (all 900 grams of it), which I thankfully shared with Rob because by the time we had eaten every morsel of (delicious) meat from the bone, neither of us could move.  I liked the kimchi accompaniment too.  We also ordered the bone marrow mash (obviously).

Pitt Cue, LondonPitt Cue, London

To start with we had an odd combination of paté and home made bread, an oyster and the ox tongue.  Rob raved about the ox tongue, I tried it and could appreciate where he was coming from, but it’s simply not for me (the texture is just what you would imagine a tongue to feel/taste like).

Pitt Cue, London

And obviously despite having over-eaten we also opted for the sticky toffee pudding, which was not too sickly sweet and with a good dose of dates.   But just completely unnecessary.

All in all, a success – and I can see it remaining a firm favourite of many a Pitt Cue fan and many a city worker/East Londoner.  I just hope they bring the pulled pork back.

Pitt Cue

1 Devonshire Square,

London EC2M 4YP

Photo credit: Pitt Cue (interiors), me (food)

Blog, Eat, London

Coba, Vietnamese BBQ dining in stylish setting

November 10, 2015
Coba, Kings Cross

Pho seems to have taken London by storm.  This Vietnamese broth, with noodles, herbs and meat is healthy and light and incredibly tasty.  But some places do it better than others.  The newly opened Coba is one of those places.

So the only negative thing to say about this place (I’ll just get it out of the way): it’s a bit of a mission to get to.  Yes, it’s near Kings Cross.  But it’s still a 15 – 20 minute walk, along York Way, but all the way down (towards Camden), past quite a few building sites.  It will seem like you’re walking completely in the wrong direction, but then it suddenly gets busier again and you’ll see more restaurants and bars and that’s where Coba is.

Coba, Kings Cross

Second thing to say is that it is so worth the walk.  You’ll realise that the minute you walk in.  Because the interiors are wonderful; simple but with lots of wood and copper (I am obsessed), and the lighting is very well done.   The staff will do their utmost to make sure you’re happy and are as friendly as their are enthusiastic (our waitress said practically every dish was her favourite and their ‘signature’ dish).

Coba, Kings CrossCoba, Kings CrossCoba, Kings Cross

I couldn’t fault the food.  The menu is succinct but you’ll want to try everything.  The starters were perhaps the best of it all – next time I return I may have all four as a main course.  The prawn toast was out of this world, and the summer rolls were some of the best I’ve had (and it’s hard to beat the Caphe ones) – so fresh.   But I was also incredibly happy with my main course: the beef wrapped in beetle leaf noodle salad is perfect if you’re looking for a healthy and light meal, full of flavour.   Jo had the pho – also the beef option – and considering she only realised she’d forgotten to add the spices half way through – it was delicious.
Coba, Kings CrossCoba, Kings CrossCoba, Kings Cross

And then to finish we opted for the carrot cake – a healthy (it seemed) take on it.  I loved it.

To drink we enjoyed their house wine, and Jo had one of their signature tea cocktails which was fantastic.  Their bar is beautiful and the barmen clearly skilled, so you can even just pop in for a drink and a starter.

Coba, Kings Cross

I passed the (also new) Greek Larder on the way there, so I’m going to try that next time, and Granary Square is not far if you want to try Caravan, the Grain Store or Dishoom.  Ultimately this part of London is so up and coming, with new restaurants and bars opening continually, that I’m sure soon its location will be a plus point, rather than a drawback.  Highly recommended.


244 York Way,

London N7 9AG

Photo credit: Coba

Blog, Eat, London

Bo Drake – A Korean BBQ Smokehouse in Soho

November 7, 2015
Bo Drake, SOho

There are some streets in London – and unsurprisingly a number of these tend to be in Soho – where practically every restaurant and bar you walk past are on your ‘to do’ list.  Greek Street is one of them.

I love Balls & Company.  I am still desperate to go to 10 Greek Street, but am too impatient to queue (which seem inevitable here).  I recently discovered that Milroys of Soho has a hidden cocktail bar called the Vault.  These are all reasons to head to Greek Street.  And then there’s Bo Drake, the minimalist Korean Smokehouse, which looks as appealing as the rest do and which we found was the perfect Saturday night date place (fun, affordable and easy).

Bo Drake, Soho

Firstly, you can book.  But if you’ve not planned ahead you can also just walk in, and perhaps squeeze in at the long wooden communal table/bar, like we did.  The menu is very appealing, if you like Korean food and barbecued meat.  This is not really for the vegetarians out there.

Bo Drake, Soho

These dishes are all about punchy flavours.  I loved their Duck Bao, the meat incredibly juicy and full of flavour.  Their sweet potato fries with kimchi mayonnaise were phenomenal.  The Bo Ssam (smoked pulled pork, with kimchi and spring onions) was delicious, and we devoured their ‘KFC’ (photo above).  But I found their Smoked Aubergine a little disappointing, as I think I was expecting something similar to the aubergines at Shackfuyu (which are out of this world), and found them a bit bland.

Bo Drake, Soho

We made two mistakes: we didn’t order the Smoked Beef Stack or the Smoked Bobo Chicken.  The couple opposite us, clearly regulars here as they walked in a reeled off a list of plates straight away, did.  So there was a moment after dinner, when we were eyeing up the desert (the soft serve ice cream is meant to be amazing) and the cocktails, that we almost ordered the Beef Ribs.  But then refrained.

Bo Drake, Soho

Drinks wise, we opted for a bottle of their house wine, but they also have a very affordable cocktail list (£8) and some good beer options too.

Bo Drake, Soho

If you like the sound of this, you may also like aforementioned Shackfuyu, which is literally around the corner on Old Compton Street.  And if you need a place for post dinner drinks, then try the Vault (blog to follow) or Mr Fogg’s Tavern, or the Blind Pig.  No need to walk far when you’re on Greek Street.

Bo Drake

6 Greek St,

London W1 4DE


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