For a London foodie, Chef Neil Rankin needs no introduction. The man associated with Pitt Cue Co, Smokehouse and Bad Egg is an expert in everything barbecue. To add to his CV of successfully smoking enterprises, he has recently launched Temper in ever-trendy Soho. In addition, in a miraculous answer to all our foodie prayers, this place even takes reservations!
So on a late Friday evening in chilly November, we found ourselves at Temper’s opening week, eagerly anticipating the meaty offerings amidst the hot and smoky atmosphere.
The space itself is split up into two levels. On the ground floor is the wine and taco bar – the design of which is subtle, elegant and sophisticated.
But as you descend downstairs to the main restaurant, the real soul of Temper is revealed. Smack in the middle is the beating heart of the restaurant- the open ‘theatre kitchen’.
It’s not long before you notice the smiling gent with a blue cap on (Neil), alongside his colleagues, furiously working the meat station. It is great to sit back and see all the cooks working passionately in the kitchen but at the same time having fun and a bit of banter!
The menu is mainly split into tacos, grills, sides and sauces. Everything is cooked from scratch in front of you so you get a feel for what’s to come. The concept is to re-create a mangal (Turkish barbecue) but give it a fun and modern interpretation.
On the day we arrived, unsurprisingly the restaurant was absolutely packed!
We started with the aged cheeseburger tacos (£6.50). They were bitesized meaty burgers served over soft corn tacos which were chowed down as soon as they arrived. The tacos were fresh, with the warm and robust flavours of the corn coming through. A great gluten-free alternative to flour tortillas.
We ordered several items from the smoked and grilled section (considering we were at a Neil Rankin restaurant). We ordered 100g each of the pork and the lamb (£5.50). All of that soft, juicy, lovely meat was served with some deliciously warm and fluffy flatbreads.
But my favourite of all was the Mutton and aged Beef Kofta (£3.50) which I savoured slowly till the end. They were juicy and subtly spiced, like tiny little flavour bombs that just burst in your mouth!
From the sides section, my eyes were immediately drawn to the Burrata, Lime and Jalapeno (£7). The Beef Fat Potatoes with Raclette (£4.50) sounded dangerously sinful so we ordered a portion of those too!
The burrata was soft and savoury, with the sharp lime and spicy jalapeno cutting through the creaminess of the burrata. The soft cheese almost doubled up as a mild, light sauce (like a yoghurt alternative) for the meat, bringing the whole ensemble together. We definitely recommend ordering this dish. The potatoes were soft and oozy with the melted cheese. The soft texture of both these side dishes matched well with the ruggedness of the grilled meats on the table.
The evening was not without flaws: A dessert that was ordered (and re-ordered, just to make sure) never arrived; our table was wonky and it took two waiters to get it fixed. Service was chaotic for the most part of the evening.
However, all was forgiven with the quality and taste of the food that arrived on the table. The staff are genuinely proud to be part of Rankin’s establishment and it is evident that they are trying especially hard to turn his vision into reality.
Temper has a strong concept behind it. The whole place is fast-paced, buzzing, social and very welcoming. There in no doubt that with a bit of ironing out of some of the logistical issues, Temper will be as epic a destination restaurant as some of Rankin’s other successful ventures.
More information can be found here.
N.B. All opinions and views expressed in this blog are my own. The photographs used have been taken by me and my partner (credited wherever applicable). I review anonymously and pay for my meals. The total cost of this meal was discounted as we attended during the restaurant’s soft launch period.