Kiln is the second restaurant from Ben Chapman – he’s the bloke behind Smoking Goat – and it’s on Brewer Street in Soho. The menu, think “Thai grill, seafood and claypots”, is the sort that reads so well you want to order every single bloody thing.
On the ground floor it’s counter seating (if you sit at the kitchen end it may be boiling hot but you get to see the open flames and claypots) whereas downstairs, with its tables, is slightly less desirable.
We started with aged lamb and cumin skewers (£2.90) which are so good you’ll contemplate ordering 20. The chunks of fat are INSANE.
If it’s fat you like then the Tamworth pork loin (£8.50) is worth ordering. How the meat can be cooked so tender yet the fat both soft and crisp is something I’ll never quite understand. Slow grilled chicken (£4.50) is another cracker; the skin on the chunks of thigh is so crisp.
Roast long pepper and Tamworth shoulder curry (£8.50) shall go down as the spiciest thing I’ve ever eaten. Seriously. I had an out of body experience. I didn’t know what to do. But once the 13 minutes of lip/tongue numbness finished I wanted to do it all over again. Seriously addictive stuff.
A wild ginger and short rib curry (£8.50) is still pretty fiery but less so than its predecessor. The flavour, again, big and bold. Clay pot baked glass noodles (£5.75) comes with slices of pork belly and slathered (isn’t that an awful word?) in a rich crab sauce which is divine.
Langoustines (£8.80), with kaffir lime and sweet mint, aren’t served raw but have a similar texture. Not sure that would be everyone’s cup of tea but it is certainly a fresh and lighter flavour than the other dishes. Laos style pollock (£7.60) comes with big chillies, in case you hadn’t had enough, but the heat is intriguing and unusual. It’s all wonderful stuff.
There are no puddings yet so we went for some gelato at VICO – thoroughly recommended if you want to soothe your tongue.
So there we have it, hands down easily the most exciting meal I’ve had this year and it’s one I haven’t stopped thinking about. The menu changes regularly too depending on what cuts of meat they get in, meaning it can only get more exciting. It’s no reservations so get in line, it’s worth the wait.
Would we go back? Yes.
We dined as guests of the restaurant