I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so excited about a new restaurant opening as Neil Rankin’s ‘Temper’ in Soho. I read about it in the Evening Standard earlier in the year, and their description of the new BBQ restaurant where diners would be able to see their meat being prepared and cooked before them had me drooling from the start. I’ve got a bit of a gripe with many British BBQ restaurants, in that most of the ones I’ve been to slather their ribs, chicken etc with a thick, sticky BBQ sauce.
In Cyprus we had an enormous gas BBQ in an outdoor kitchen area which was my Dad’s pride and joy. He was infamous for his BBQs amongst our family and friends, both when we lived in Yorkshire and in Cyprus. And there was no glimpse of a burger or sausage in sight – he would do steaks, pork chops, lamb chops (to name just a few!) and a plethora of side dishes and even puddings cooked in silver foil. You hadn’t had a BBQ until you’d had a Rex family BBQ! I was quite disappointed when I moved back to the UK to find the British interpretation of BBQ wasn’t really the same (largely because they were adopting American style flavours and techniques). So when I heard about Temper, it sounded like the restaurant I had been searching for, for all these years. Topped with the fact I was already a big fan of Neil Rankin’s work, it was just ticking all the boxes.
Tim and I visited a couple of weekends ago and we were pleased to see it was fairly busy (not bad for an ‘underground’ restaurant in Soho on a lazy Sunday afternoon). We took a pew up on the ‘raised’ section around the open kitchen, right in front of where the cuts of meat were being prepared by one of the chefs. The service was excellent from the moment we arrived and our waiter was very helpful with recommendations – Temper’s menu is made up of a number of small plates, so help is always appreciated to know how much to order. I don’t think over-ordering would ever be an issue for us (we rarely leave without completely empty plates!) but I fear under ordering would have been more of a calamity!!
First up were the drinks – Tim ordered a cider and I chose the gin with lemon thyme and fennel which were absolutely beautiful flavour combinations for a G&T! I would also like to point out, the restaurant has an impressive Mezcal selection which we were certainly tempted by, but it seemed a bit much for a Sunday lunchtime!
We decided to go for two taco plates to begin with. There seemed to be some confusion with the order as we were sure we’d ordered the crab and beef, but pork and beef emerged. Not a problem at all – we’re not fussy eaters and I’m really glad we did get to try the pork as it was bloody gorgeous! It was Iberico ham with pineapple, mozzarella, chipotle passata and onions. The beef was soy-cured raw beef, fermented chilli, soy and sesame. Once again, the flavours were beautiful.
For main course, we ordered the pork and the goat, but unfortunately due to another mix up we received beef and lamb! Really not sure how it happened, but we stuck with these and ordered the goat on top. In situations like this, order mix ups really don’t bother me because I’m happy to try as many dishes as possible, and you know they’re all going to be equally good! The beef was a British White from Essex and was a mix of smoked rib meat, neck and shin, leg shawarma and grilled prime cuts. As I’m sure you can see from the photos, it was cooked to perfection and melted in your mouth.
I’m pleased we did try the lamb, the Daphne Tilley from Wales, made up of shoulder shawarma, leg, belly and grilled loin. It was incredibly tasty and was perfectly complemented with the green sauce we ordered as a side ‘dip’ (although I’m not sure if that was just a subliminal connection with mint sauce!)
The goat meat was from Cabrito (you might have read my post about them over the Summer, if not you can take a read here) and it was just beautiful. Goat has such an amazing flavour and when it’s looked after and cooked as brilliantly as this, you’re on to a winner. Tim made a point of saying this was his favourite dish.
All of these main courses are served in 100g portions on top of freshly baked flat bread. But you can’t overlook the sides at Temper. These are almost meals in themselves! We ordered the jerk sweet potato and pineapple, and the beef fat potatoes with raclette. Be still my beating heart!! (I’d like to point out my autocorrect changed beating to ‘beefing’, it knows me all too well!) Both of these dishes were indulgent and delicious – I discovered the cheese for the raclette was Provolone. I think it could have been better with Comté but hey, I’m biased 😉 As I mentioned, there are also a number of sauces and ‘sprinkles’ available to order (we went for the pork, habanero and pickled onion sprinkles).
We didn’t know if we really needed a dessert after all of that meaty goodness, but we were tempted by the deep dish brigadeiro soft-centre cookie. And my mouth is watering just thinking about it. It was SO good! Temper knows what it’s doing with meat, but don’t overlook the puddings because if the rest of them are anything like this, you simply can’t go wrong. We’d decided to share this dish but in hindsight we wished we’d gone for one each!
I was really impressed with Temper and it lived up to my expectations, which is always a little bit nerve-wracking when you’ve built your hopes up. It was also reasonably priced for such a high quality tasty meal in the heart of Soho. I’ll definitely be returning (in fact, resisting the urge to go back right away!)
You can find out more about Temper on their website and book here.