Smoking Goat (CLOSED)
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Please note, the Covent Garden branch of Smoking Goat has now closed. Time Out Food editors, January 2019.
If you’re looking for adventurous eating, you can find it in Thailand. On one visit up near the Burmese border, I pulled my motorbike over to a roadside shack, attracted by the barbecue smell. ‘Paddy chicken’ was the garbled translation for what turned out to be chargrilled field rats. Not much meat on them, in case you’re wondering.
You won’t find much paddy chicken in London, but you can find dishes that capture the spirit of Thai barbecue. Smoking Goat is a café-bar serving half-a-dozen snacks and meals inspired by street food.
Low lighting and a barely legible menu make it hard to tell what you’re eating, but barbecued duck legs were a highlight: the well-rendered meat served with a watery version of nam jim jaew, tangy sour-and-sweet dipping sauce, plus sticky rice to mop up the juices. More challenging was a whole chilli crab, slathered in a spicy, sticky sauce. After cracking the shells, you eat by hand; the sauce goes everywhere. Not a dish to order on a hot date. Som tam was easier to handle, though this green papaya salad should have been worked over properly in a mortar and pestle.
Smoking Goat is styled like a dive bar but has craft beers and a wine list that’s unusually well-matched to Thai food. Bar snacks such as fried chicken wings or roast scallops are served from 3pm to 7pm, then the dinner menu kicks in. The caveats: it doesn’t take bookings, and it’s loud, small and very busy. On two of our three visits we were told the wait, outside in the cold, would be over an hour. At least in Thailand you can wait for your paddy chicken in the balmy shade.
7 Denmark Street
|Transport:||Tube: Tottenham Court Road|
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