So, here’s another gem, this time in Soho. Nestled between any number of guitar and musical instrument shops that stretch the whole length of Denmark Street is the entirely unassuming Smoking Goat. The ‘Goat describes itself as “Thai Barbecue” but it is as far from the usual fare that this implies as I’ve seen. Moreover, they specialise in using rare-breed British meat. Again, with much owed to Thai street food, (the guys behind this place travelled extensively in the northern regions of Thailand) this amazing food has transitioned perfectly.
The Smoking Goat is small with around 20 covers at the front (if you include eating at the bar) and some more space at the rear (10 maybe?). The food is to die for, honestly, the flavours, textures and execution were just fabulous. Like The Oystermen in Covent Garden and, indeed, Rok in Shoreditch, I love the intimacy of these little places, each having a distinctive vibe and located in interesting places and characterful old buildings. I am pretty much done with stuffy formality and reverence when I’m eating. Even fine dining can be relaxed (take the Frog in Spitalfields, say).
Anyway, we went with cocktails to start (yes, I know, it was only lunchtime… – oh yes, make sure you book as this place is very popular, gets full quickly and we couldn’t get in for dinner all week). I didn’t take note of what I had, but I’m sure it had Thai Basil in it? I remember thinking, don’t have a vodka-based one its too early, so it may have been rum. Who knows…? No matter, it was lovely. In fact I had two.
Anyway, the food. I started with the Coal Roasted Scallops with red nahm yum. I am funny with scallops, they really need to be cooked well and for me the charring on the outside is critical, otherwise they are just meh, usually. I had some fantastic ones at Pitt Cue (Devonshire Square on the edge of Spitalfields), but these may have been even better. Cooked on the coals in the shells, crispy on the outside, melting in the middle and a delicious spicy sauce (which I drank rather wantonly from the shells, naturally..).
FWD went with the eponymous goat, not the smoked shoulder (which was huge even for two as we noted from the neighbouring table) but a Goat Laab spicy Thai Salad. This was so good, the flavours were remarkable.
I went with a rare breed pig version and was equally impressed. I really need to learn to make this at home. FWH also tried the smoked Lamb Ribs with gapi rub and pickles. The meat just fell off the bone and crawled into your mouth unaided. Fab stuff.
(Btw my hairdresser of the previous day – who was French – waxed lyrical about the fact that Smoking Goat serves a beef bavette (or skirt) which he loves and finds difficult to get hold of in the UK, but which is quite common in France. So, interesting cuts as well as rare breeds.
Absolutely loved this place and run by two fantastic guys for whom nothing was too much trouble. Make the effort to go if you get chance.