For the final of my (two week long) Birthday celebrations in November, I was very lucky to be treated to dinner at Smoking Goat by a friend. Thai food is one of the many cuisines that I want to learn more about. I’d never really had any Thai food (other than Thai curry) prior to moving to London and I’m eager to try more now I’m here so here’s my review of Smoking Goat, Shoreditch.
Smoking Goat, Sister restaurant to Kiln, models itself on late-night Bangkok canteens and up until this month had branches in Soho and Shoreditch. The Soho one closed down last week but the newer Shoreditch one is thriving. Unlike Soho, the Shoreditch one takes reservations – which is great because I loathe the idea of freezing in a queue for two hours starving to get a table; one hungry cold Meg does not a good (start to the) evening make.
The low bench style seats are already filling up when we arrive at 6.30pm on a Thursday, mainly filled with tight-jean wearing, loud groups of people in their 20’s. Smoking Goat’s food is the perfect drinking food, there’s no delicate flavours or ‘refined palate’ discussions here – every plate delivers punchy, bold flavours by the truck load.
The menu is split into drinking foods, large plates for sharing and sides. Whilst sipping on super refreshing rum, mint and lime cocktails (£6 each), we selected three small plates and two large plates to share between the two of us.
First up, the Barbecue Tamworth skewer – meaty, saucy Tamworth sausagemeat on a skewer (£1.60). It looked a bit uninspiring on its plate but it tasted great . It arrived at the same as the Northern thai style brisket sausage with hot mint which I loved. The beefiness of the slices of “sausage” followed by the refreshing but powerful kick of the hot mint was brilliant.
Chilli fish sauce wings didn’t sound that appealing to me but they were actually very tasty. They were definitely spicy, my lips were tingling half way through the first one, and they also had a really satisfying sticky sweet coating them too which stopped them being too salty from the fish sauce.
For the large plates we chose the barbecue goat shoulder Massaman curry with fried lemongrass (£13.50) and I am SO glad that we did, it ended up being one of my Top 10 Plates of 2017 . The goat was unbelievably tender, the moment the fork touched it, it fell off the bone and it really did just melt in your mouth. It was creamy and sweet without being sickly and the flavours were the perfect equilibrium of strong, warming and gentle all at once. If you go, you have to try this dish! We ordered the lardo fried rice (£3.50) to go alongside the goat and it went really well.
The other sharing plate we weren’t so fond of. It was a D’Tom Yam with wild mussels and velvet crab (£9). I loved how different it was to the rest of the food we had – lip-puckeringly sour, salty and hot in complete contrast to the smooth and sweet goat. However we found it a bit odd that the crab was all still in shell – because the soup was opaque you couldn’t really see what you were eating which meant we kept eating bits of shell. I’m not sure if we were eating it wrong! I’m glad I tried this dish but probably wouldn’t get it again.
Something I did find weird is that they don’t do any desserts at all – nothing! I have no idea what a Thai dessert would be, but surely they have something?? I finished my meal with a rhubarb and Vermouth cocktail which was good but not as good as the rum, lime and mint cocktail in my opinion.
I can’t speak for the authenticity of Smoking Goat having had very limited exposure to “proper” Thai food, let alone Bangkok food specifically, but I can say that I absolutely loved it and will definitely be returning. That goat dish was incredible and it’s the perfect chilled spot for a cheap cocktails and to meet friends, though it’s certainly not the place for any kind of intimate discussions. The prices are really reasonable too!
Nearest Station: Old Street/Liverpool Street
Where’s your favourite Thai place in London? Tell me in the comments, I want to try more!