Entering this dimly lit restaurant you’re welcomed with the lovingly familiar smell of a barbeque. You’d think it was summer but this was a bitterly cold night and the warmth and aromas inside this establishment changed everything. There’s a lot been said about Smoking Goat and we’re very glad to tell you it’s all credible.
The theme is Thai and the overtone is barbecue; two things we have no issues with. We were lucky enough to meet Ben Chapman who is the chef and co-partner of Smoking Goat after asking the waitress about some of the flavours being used. He’s clearly an intelligent guy given the combinations on offer here so we take our hat off. The venue is small and that’s not a bad thing, with a few tables arranged around the bar where there are quite a few stools for informal dining. We also loved the soundtrack on offer and it was clear the place was playing vinyl, we loved that.
The menu is small and it’s safe to say we ordered everything on it that was available. It is divided into ‘Small’ and ‘Wood Grill’ and we started with Coal Roast Scallops & Red Nam Yum, Chilli Wings and the now very famous Fish Sauce Wings. The scallops were cooked perfectly and came in the shell with a red nam yum sauce. It’s not often you drink the sauce out of the shell like you were eating an oyster and wow it packed a punch! The chilli wings were a pretext to the finale which I will mention in a second. These were cooked well and had a crunchy batter which you rarely see. They weren’t oily and again packed a punch. The sauces and opportunities to dip all items in high class ingredients changed the way you thought about the food here; the dish is as good as the sauce that accompanies it. Now for the fish sauce wings. These are hands down our favourite wings eaten to date. They echo the sentiments earlier about the chilli wings however took it up a fair few notches with the fish sauce incorporated in a glaze. These are outstanding and it’s easy to see why these sold out later on in the evening.
Next up were the lamb ribs. Another rarity on a menu but one we’d quite happily eat again. These are smoked and basted with fermented shrimp, chilli and palm sugar. Just reading those ingredients again show you the level of complexity in the flavours on offer here. These were excellent and we were tempted to order more when the duck legs came out. These are slow roasted and marinated with galangal, lemongrass & kaffir then basted with ketjap manis & white pepper. For those wondering, ketjap manis is an Indonesian soy sauce – it’s a bit thicker and slightly sweeter. These, again, were fantastic. It’s not often you get duck served up like this and they didn’t last long at all. The lamb ribs and the duck legs are both served with papaya salad (som tam) and sticky rice. The som tam has a lot of chilli so be warned! However what a vibrant dish to accompany a meal. The sticky rice in our eyes was there just to mop up the leftover sauces and juices, which makes sense! For drinks we had a bold bottle of red and it mixed well with the strong flavours on offer.
Smoking Goat is a Thai barbecue feast. Be prepared to get your shirt to get splattered with an array of sauces and know that your fingers will get finger-licking messy. Served up is some of the best Asian flavours around and you’d be hard pressed to find more intelligent cooking. There’s no phone and there’s no bookings so come hungry and arrive early.
7 Denmark Street, Soho, WC2