Nov 12 2014

Smoking Goat

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Smoking goat is the new restaurant everyone is talking about. It is a Thai Barbecue restaurant (they say it is in Soho, but it is really closer to Tottenham Court Road and Covent Garden). It opened mid-October and already was full when I went there and is getting more and more attention. The restaurant is owned by Ben Chapman, and the head chef is Seb Homes who comes from the very good Thai restaurant, the Begging Bowl in Peckham.

 

I came here on a Friday evening at around 6.30 and we could just get a table. However the trick is they don’t serve any food until 7pm, and until 7pm (from 3pm to 7pm) you can order drinks or 2 of their snacks - Oysters & Nam Jim (a green chilli Thai dipping sauce) and their Fish Sauce Wings (for £6). As we were hungry we ordered the Fish Sauce Wings. They were tasty, with a slight fish sauce flavour, that was not overwhelming, but they were covered in this deep glaze that tasted amazing, but was a bit too heavy for me, so I could only manage 1 wing.

 

The restaurant is really dark, and it has that night bar feeling with fun music playing. Some of the tables are made out of barrels, you also have normal tables, but half of the people sit by the bar, there is very little space in the restaurant and everyone is really pushed together. We were moved further along the table several times as the waiters tried to accommodate people. We sat by the bar and both of us agreed that the barmen were really nice. They were attentive, gave us great cocktails and were very friendly.

 

The problem with this place was that when 7pm came everyone rushed to order food, and so even if you were 5min late past 7pm you would have to wait a long time for your food. We ordered a few minutes before 7pm and started getting our dishes at around 7.30pm. You can also see this restaurant is new and they clearly don’t know how much food they need, as by 8pm they had run out of one of their main dishes, the crab, as well as the chicken wings, and when the menu is so small, it really matters. The menu had 3 small dishes and 3 larger ones, and when you ran out of 2 of 6, people feel it. So I would be interested to see how much food they had by 9pm. But all this can easily be fixed, and I do understand they have just opened and restaurants have these problems when they first open.

 

The chicken wings were the only small dish we ordered from the menu (they also had roast scallops and a roast aubergine salad dishes in the small dish section). We however ordered all the 3 large dishes they had on the menu – “smoked lamb ribs, basted with fermented shrimp, chilli and palm sugar”, “slow roast duck legs, marinated with galangal, lemongrass and kaffir, basted with ketjap manis and white pepper”, which both were £15 and both served with their sticky rice and jaev dipping sauce and green papaya salad (som tam). We also ordered the whole crab for £20 which had aromatic herbs, roasted chilli, palm sugar, fresh coconut cream with hot mint and salted curry leaves.

 

The lamb to me almost tasted like pork, it had that crunchy glazed skin, like pork sometimes has and the meat was extremely soft. I liked it with the Thai flavoured sauce, and I am such a huge fan of these Thai sauces that have fish sauce, lemon, chilli and palm sugar, I could eat anything with them. My boyfriend did not like this. He called it “dog food”, as he thought it had just bones and fat and he thought it was not a very good quality meat to serve. I found it quite funny as Fay Maschler in her review had said how much she liked these and my boyfriend called this “dog food”. I guess taste is such a personal thing. The lamb was just served with rice, they had forgotten to bring us the papaya salad, and I had to remind them, but they did bring it to us when I asked. I loved the rice, it was sticky and just perfect, one of the best rice I have had in a long long time. The papaya salad was also seriously good, with just the right amount of spiciness and with so much flavour.

 

Next came the crab. They gave you a huge dish full of crab in a spicy coconut sauce. The crab came from Cornwall and it was sort of medium size, but it did make it very tricky to eat. At this point I was wishing I had been served the huge crab that Beast (another restaurant in London) serves, as that would have been so much easier to eat. It was super dark in the restaurant and the crab was so messy, every time I broke the small leg to get the meat out, a huge amount of sauce landed either on my face, clothes, bag or phone, and by the end of the meal I was covered in crab. My boyfriend said it was ridiculous to give you crab in such a dark environment. I loved the taste of it, when I got the crab out of the legs and claws, but it was a long process, but the taste was delicious. The duck (also served with rice and papaya salad) was probably my least memorable dish, but it was the easiest to eat, with nice flesh that you could dip into the sauce and full of flavour. It did not have the fat that the lamb had and the messiness of the crab.

 

We then asked for the bill and were given the wrong bill (£43 instead of the >£70 we were supposed to pay). I did tell the waiter (being good-hearted) and said that we had to pay more. They changed the bill and brought us another one for £70. At that point I noticed they had not included a few of the drinks we had on the bill, we prob had to pay £20 more than the bill was, but I was so tired at this point of chasing them and telling them it was wrong again, as it did take them time to change it, I left it and just paid. I think this restaurant has huge potential, and it should bet better and deal with all the problems of a newly opened restaurant. The flavours they do are spot on, I loved the rice, papaya salad, the sauces and the crab (without the messiness). My boyfriend has a different view though and he thinks this place is overrated.

 

Date: 07/ 11/ 14

Price: around £70

Location: Tottenham Court Road

Smoking Goat on Urbanspoon

Maija rated: 

3.50

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Smoking Goat
7 Denmark Street WC2H 8LZ
London
United Kingdom
GB
Smoking Goat Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5