We were genuinely shocked to read the announcement: one of Soho’s – no scrub that, London’s – best restaurants closes in under a fortnight.
And no, it’s not because they’ve overstretched themselves or are suddenly out of favour with the ‘influencers’. Instead, it’s the latest casualty in the ongoing Crossrail smash ‘n’ grab; or, as they politely say on the press release, “the area’s redevelopment.”
Rewind four years and it’s hard to believe Smoking Goat only opened in 2014, and that its esoteric interpretation of Thai barbecue dishes, using Cornish sea food and British rare breed meats, has been much copied across the capital.
“We’ve had an unforgettable three years on Denmark Street and that’s largely down to a brilliant team who’ve flourished and our incredibly loyal crowd of regulars,” says co-founder Ben Chapman. “I know of no other place where people regularly eat dinner, leave, and then come back in the same night.”
He adds, diplomatically, that “Denmark Street is undergoing some exciting changes and the developers have been hugely supportive to allow us to continue service amongst it all, but it’s now time to leave them to crack on. The fun will continue at Smoking Goat Shoreditch. We’re not saying goodbye permanently to a pocket of London we’re so fond of – we hope to be back in the future.”We hope he’s for real, too. We’ve lost count of the times we’ve swung by post-theatre, or just post-boozing, and been accommodated at little notice – sometimes just two of us, although more often half a dozen,, all proceeding rowdily to share every plate on the short and faultless menu.
Service has always been on point too, although there was the legendary time when the busy waitress didn’t spot one of our party’s napkins going up in flames – subsequently stamped out by my panicked friend. Yikes.Moving on. The good news? The team plan to celebrate with a series of ‘Last Days of the Goat’ Dinners which include free plates of the infamous Fish Sauce wings for each table and menus featuring standards like Hang Lae curried pork rib, fish head curry and Khao Soi smoked goat. Oh my.
Some more good news? Sister restaurant Kiln is arguably even better – read our review here – and is very much open for the foreseeable. And the latest offshoot Smoking Goat Shoreditch is, lest we forget, *only* over on Redchurch Street.
But still: the original will go down quite rightly as a West End classic.