A new Shoreditch spot taking over from Smoking Goat Soho.
Got £3.80 in your pocket? Great. Because that’s all you’ll need for Smoking Goat’s lardo-fried rice. Aka the best fried rice in London. They cook down the back fat of outdoor-reared Tamworth pigs, then fry it up with rice, a little egg and a paste of chilli, garlic and coriander root. Plus whatever veggie offcuts are lying around. It’s the colour of autumn, the taste of long-haul holidays and the ultimate hangover cure. The downside? You can’t get it ‘to go’, so you’ll have to eat in.
Which, actually, is no hardship. This place rocks. While the now-closed original, on Denmark Street, was a teeny dive bar with a handful of ‘Thai barbecue’ bar snacks, the new Smoking Goat is a big, buzzy, restaurant proper. It feels like the pub it once was, only instead of a bar there’s an open counter kitchen in the centre. Tables are so tightly packed the guy next to me went for an intense buttock clench as he attempted to slide through the gap, his pal helpfully cracking jokes about the size of his bum. It’s low-lit and fun, all smoke and noise and music. The look is industrial-meets-rustic: high ceilings, factory windows and girders, plus loads of wood, including the original parquet floors.
But back to the food. It’ll smack you in the face. Tiny, volcanically hot ‘mouse dropping’ chillies abound. There are also heaps of fresh herbs, such as lemongrass stalks and casually ripped-up lime leaves packed into a fragrant, perfect, seafood tom yum. I also loved the mildest dish of the night, a plate of ‘drunken noodles’. A twist on a Cantonese beef ho fun, its noodles were wide, its umami-laden sauce spiked with Thai jungle herbs like holy basil and wild ginger. Slices of smoked brisket were in the mix, their broad fatty edges adding extra depth. This is salty, unctuous, eat-while-getting-drunk food.
In fact, it’s all drinking food. Flavours are so big, so bold, they really are best with a few beers. Don’t miss the signature fish-sauce chicken wings, with their sticky sweet-salt-heat sauce, or deep-fried shell-on Cornish prawns, covered in crunchy, peppery, cumin-salted batter. You eat ’em whole.
The only dish that was a little too extreme was the laab-style pork. If you’re brave – some might say reckless – enough to order this dry-fried mince, then do yourself a favour and team it with a soothing plain rice. I can take most levels of spice and it pretty much blew my head off.
But that’s just the kind of place Smoking Goat is. A place to smack you around and leave you reeling. In the mouth, but never the wallet. Good times a-go-go.
|Venue name:||Smoking Goat|
64 Shoreditch High Street
|Transport:||Shoreditch High Street Overground|
|Price:||Meal for two with drinks and service: around £80.|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4.4 / 5
- 5 star:4
- 4 star:6
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
Tucked into a corner of Shoreditch High Street, it's easy to miss the subtle signage stuck to the grey brick wall. The entrance is guarded by a large wooden door but once through, you're immediately greeted by friendly staff on hand to seat you amongst the vast tables and high-stool benches. Our server was very friendly and talked us through the menu with recommendations for the goat dish as well as the lardo rice. My friend ordered the chicken dish and some jasmine rice and though the 'Drinking snacks' were inviting (mainly small items to snack on such as a single chicken kebab), we held out for just the mains.
The chicken arrived in a pot and was the tastiest chicken I've tried in a long time. It was so tender and sweet but with a little spice, just delightful. The goat dish I ordered was a generous portion but I was disappointed by a couple of things. Firstly, the use of lemongrass on top of the goat was dried and hard and genuinely caught in my throat like cocktail sticks. After I'd felt the impact of the first couple of bites, I was really quite put off and tried to scrape as much of the rest off as I could. Secondly, I had tried goat before but this time it seemed a lot earthier and dense than I remembered but it could well have been due to having tried the chicken earlier which was light and sweet and beautiful.
The rice was lovely. My lardo rice in particular was indulgent and packed with all of the fragrant thai flavours you'd expect. It was delicious and I really enjoyed it.
We were around £20 each for a drink, main and side but it was super tasty and I know next time I would definitely order the chicken.
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