Review: Smoking Goat, Soho
Nestled between any number of musical instrument shops on Denmark Street, Soho, is the unassuming frontage of Smoking Goat. The ‘Goat describes itself as a “Thai Barbecue, Dive Bar and Dining Room” and specialises in using rare-breed British meat as well as more unusual cuts (beef bavette for example, frequently found in France but rarely served up in British restaurants). Another speciality is day-boat. Smoking Goat owes much to Thai street food – the guys behind this place travelled extensively in the northern regions of Thailand – and the food is supremely good.
This place is small, with around 20 covers at the front (if you include eating at the bar) and some more space at the rear (10 covers maybe?). I like the intimacy of these smaller places and the characterful building and simply wooden interior is achingly cool. We ate at lunchtime and the restaurant was full by the time we had finished, so booking is essential – although in the evening you can book only for six or more, so you need to be prepared to wait.
I started with the delicious, charred and succulent Coal-Roasted Scallops with Red Nahm Yum. The spicy sauce was superb, smoky and rich – I have to confess to drinking the remaining sauce directly from the shells. We also had the Goat Laab Spicy Thai Salad and the rare-breed pork version – a Laab is a kind of dry mince curried with a range of spices (I had to ask) and both versions were delicious, with fresh and spicy flavours complementing the meats. The meat on the Lamb Ribs with Gapi Rub and Pickles just fell away from the bone. You eat with your hands here, and a finger bowl is provided.
The menu at Smoking Goat is small, and what they do, they do extremely well. There is also a thoughtful selection of wines and cocktails that go nicely with the spicy street-style food. We absolutely loved this place and it is run by two fantastic guys for whom nothing was too much trouble. Service was great, and the owners were happy to chat and explain the food and their ethos, despite a busy lunchtime.
Make the effort to go if you get chance.