Time Out says
A Thai barbecue restaurant from the man who gave us Smoking Goat.
Any restaurant where you can say the words ‘Thai’ and ‘barbecue’ in the same breath gets my vote. Kiln is the latest gaff from self-taught chef Ben Chapman – of Smoking Goat fame – and aims to take its by-the-roadside cooking style to the next level. And yup, his Thai barbecue game is pretty strong.
Smoking Goat has more of a dive bar vibe, with a handful of dishes and the kitchen out of sight. At Kiln, the ground floor is all about two things: cooking or eating. A stainless-steel counter runs its full length. Behind it runs the equally long open kitchen. There’s action and cheffery and drama at every swivel of your stool.
Sit at the back for the pyromaniac seats: a view into the kiln itself. Inside this small, insulated furnace, chestnut and oak logs are sent to their fiery end, the glowing embers occasionally removed to ‘feed the grill’ (as in, the chargrill) or ‘feed the tao’. A tao, in case you’re wondering, is a round ceramic container: you keep adding embers until there’s enough heat to cook on, using either a wok or a clay pot. Want to turn the heat down? Simple: take out an ember. It’s brilliantly low-tech.
The food is similarly stripped back. Dishes may be inspired by rural Thailand, but, where possible, they’re made with world-class British produce, mostly from indie Cornish suppliers. The lemongrass and Szechuan pepper, for instance, comes from a coastal polytunnel (a project Chapman helped fund).
The pork loin – cut from rare breed, fully free-range pigs – showcases Kiln’s ethos perfectly. A slab of succulent, ember-charred meat arrives sliced, with a zingy, fiery, sweet and salt sauce (of fresh lime juice, fish sauce, dried chilli and palm sugar) for dipping. Even better is the mackerel curry: a dry-fried explosion of flavour under an obscenely fresh piece of fish. (If you think of mackerel as ‘fishy’, Kiln is the place to convert you – all the fish has been out of the ocean for less than eight hours.) Or the wild ginger and short-rib curry, bursting with fragrant Burmese spices and pieces of beef so tender, you could eat them with a spoon. The dishes rarely use coconut milk (have you tried growing coconuts in the UK?), so go ahead and order several portions of the deliciously chewy brown rice: not only is this an excellent way to balance out all those intense, edgy flavours, but it’ll make your meal – and of course your moolah – go a lot further, too.
Not everything was perfect: a pair of cumin and chilli skewers would, paradoxically, have worked better with cheaper, fattier pieces of lamb (like the way they’re done at Silk Road in Camberwell) and an otherwise interesting dish of clay pot-baked glass noodles with pork tenderloin and crab meat was marred by being a touch overcooked.
But these are minor quibbles in what is fundamentally a good-value place to eat exciting food. Downstairs – where the groups sit – is a different kind of fun. It’s dark, it’s loud, it’s the place to bring your very best mates. The thing to do, apparently, is to ring up in advance, ask when the suckling pig will be in, then book yourself a basement table. That sounds like my kind of dinner party.
58 Brewer Street
|Transport:||Tube: Piccadilly Circus|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £90.|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 12.30pm-2.30pm, 5-10.30pm; Sun 1-8pm.|
|Do you own this business?|
Users say (13)
Average User Rating
3.5 / 5
- 5 star:4
- 4 star:4
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:2
My wife took me to Kiln last night to celebrate my 50th. We knew we couldn't book in advance, so turned up at around 6.30. We were told a table would be ready at around 7.35, and were sent a text message with a link we could check telling us how long we'd be waiting. We headed off round the corner for a drink and at 7.30 the link was still saying 19-29 minutes, but we then got a text message saying the table was ready and would only be held for ten minutes. We gulped down our drinks and headed back.
When we got there, we were told the people in our space were just paying. We then realised there were several other couples also standing around waiting. We were left standing there for thirty more minutes. No explanation, no apologies, no nothing.
In the end, I decided that no food is good enough to tolerate this appalling level of customer service and left, after letting the manager know what I thought of the system.
Ultimately, the way a place treats its customers is a sign of its values.
This place treats customers complacently, as cash cows and with no care or respect.
After having so many people reccommend Kiln we finally gave in to the hype and went along on a Saturday. We arrived around 6pm and were told around 45 minutes wait. No worries, as luckily the excellent Sam Smiths pub Glasshouse Stores is across the way, so we could happily wait with a pint.
Once in, the incredibly friendly staff popped us on the counter right near the smoke (the best place in any restaurant).
The food was incredible. We insisted that we were only having a few light bites but could have easily ordered the entire menu. The 'wild ginger and beef neck c'southern style dry pork curry' were both easily some of the best dishes I can remember having, hugely flavourful and just the right amount of spice.
The wine was decent, the prices fair and we were left with a new firm favourite!
Finally got round to visiting Kiln after hearing the rave reviews. Cosy and cool environment, we hadn't booked but only waited about half an hour for a table whilst being taken through their interesting selection of orange wines by a very friendly barman. We settled on a Slovenian skin-contact wine which was delicious and different. The food was visually impressive and had bags of flavour, whole-heartedly recommend the brown crab glass noodles which were really special. I would definitely visit again and have already recommended Kiln.
My Monday night dinner dates are always something I look forward too. And mainly as I try and go to the places that I have on my hit list of London’s newest spots.Kiln has been on my list forever and I finally managed to make it here without having to queue for a ridicules amount of time. A no reservation and walk in after work 6pm with a 30 min estimate wait wasn’t too bad in my option.
What we had:
Aged Lamb and Cumin Skewer
Mackerel Dry Red Curry
Langoustines, Kiffir Lime & Sweet Mint
Wild Ginger Beef Cheek Curry
All of the food was absolutely amazing and extremely flavorsome. I think the starters were most definitely my favorite especially the Monk Fish that is served on a edible leaf. Staffs are really attentive and full of great recommendations. Lovely place with great atmosphere now I know what all the fuss was actually about.
Very disappointing. There wasn't a dish that would bring me back and wait in line for it. The wait would have been okay if they had a decent drinks list but we tried 4 different glasses of wine and each one we would rate from bad to terrible.
Do not recommend this restaurant.
Being a huge fan of Smoking Goat, I thought I would try this new restaurant after the buzz it was receiving.
Unfortunately, it disappointed on every single level. The only group tables are in a dank, very cramped cave, the wait staff are quite rude & treat everyone as a "bums on table" operation & most importantly, the food was not very nice.
As in this article, the noodle pork dish was not pleasant at all, the skewers are tiny & the curries are watery. Would not go back & would not recommend.
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