Last week I was lucky enough to head down to the soft launch of mega-BBQer Neil Rankin's new place, temper. A super sleek entrance on the corner of Broadwick Street in Soho was welcome relief from the absolute pouring rain and we were soon greeted by warming smells of open fire cooking as we headed down in to the basement kitchen and dining room. It's amazingly still light down there, thanks to large glass panels but in the centre of the room you can be in a barbecue world of your own, entirely focused on the meat in front of you. We sat as close as we could to the action (why sit anywhere else in my opinion) and had ours eyes transfixed on the chefs and coals at work in front of us throughout our whole meal.
We ordered tacos to start with, on a great suggestion by our waiter and of course had one of each (apart from the burger, which I must go back for) as well as some drinks. The drinks need to spoken about on their own.
So that's that then. No, but seriously, irn bru literally on the menu on the softs option and in spritz form. Of course we ordered both options! I'm not here to 'review' an irn bru but as an aperitvo spritz? Hell yes I'll say it's damn good. I was off the sauce and so enjoyed a refreshing apple-grapefruit spritz that was just on the right side of bitter for me. As you know, #IHaveThisThingWithGlassware, and these guys were as thin as you can GET. Big fan of the thin stem on that wine glass too.
This also gives you a good glimpse into the kitchen and of course, the capped Neil, working in the background as he does every day (props, chef). The tacos arrived soon after and these were incredible. I've never had a proper corn taco and these were wonderfully substantial and held the toppings really well, if a little thick and chewy (but maybe they're supposed to be - I don't know!). My particular favourite had to be the crab and pickled onion pork skin - I mean, just look at that description for a minute and tell me you don't want it straight away?! They all come with 2 per portion so are pretty perfect for sharing to start and they all come as soon as they're ready so you're never pushed for space - helpful especially if you're sat on the central bench. We kept hold of our menu's throughout the meal and ordered when we were ready for the next lot of food (probably a luxury only a soft-launch can provide) but we loved it as we could see how full we were after the tacos and get more if we wanted, which, of course we did.
So again, ordered one of everything, bar the kofte. All the meat comes in 100g portions with varying cuts, all served on a flatbread. All three options, beef, pork and lamb, looked incredible- and we could see it on the bone being cut off before us! My favourite was the pork, it just fell apart and had such a wonderful flavour, I was thinking about it long after we left. We'd ordered some sides too but while we were half way through we suddenly realised we hadn't ordered any sprinkles or sauces! Perhaps it would've been nice to have it explained; where the waiters would've suggested they'd be nice to have but we soon clocked on and after making make-shift wraps with our meat, flatbreads and sides we knew that the MSG ketchup and the peanut and lime zest crunchy onions were made for it and they arrived straight away. Can we just take a second to say how great it is to see 'sprinkles' as an option on a menu? More of this please, world.
The side dishes were probably the things I was most looking forward to and if I'm ever in need of quick, delicious grub I'll dash in for a taco and one of these for a stupendously good-value quick bite. We had szechuan autumnal greens, grilled corn with lamb fat butter, mint and yellow chilli and also an order of beef fat potatoes with raclette. All three were wonderful but my favourite had to be the greens. It was the perfect bite of freshness between all the meat and was seasoned to perfection.
After all this, you may think we were too full for dessert but I hope you realised that that could never happen and so we ordered one of my favourite desserts - a kouign amann. It came with Dulche de Leche ice cream of the smoothest variety which was awesomely topped up throughout the pud by chef Martin who we had a great chat with throughout our meal. Eating it with a teaspoon was legitimately impossible but hey, I'm not fussy when it comes to sugar so basically ate it with my hands. Thank goodness we were the last in or I'd have had to apologise to fellow diners. Quick shoutout to whoever chose the crockery too: those plates are Stunning (capital intended).
I normally don't write about places based on the soft launch, as I don't think it's entirely fair to base somewhere after only have a few services but with temper, it was that good I just had to. I can't wait for another visit with some slightly different taco flavours but I'd honestly go back tomorrow if I could. The service was awesome, the chefs all lovely to talk to and so passionate about what they're doing, also quite nice to look at if I may say so?
Soho has a lot of great restaurants but this, fills a void we didn't know it had. Congrats to the whole temper team. Go eat! Go drink! Get the bloody irn bru!