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58 Brewer Street
The name of Ben (Smoking Goat) Chapman’s second restaurant tells you everything you need to know: it’s cramped, full of fire and spins out baked clay pots filled with outstandingly appetising noodle dishes from the northern Thai borderlands. Kiln’s focus is on casual dining, with a long, metal counter running parallel to the open kitchen: various Thai-style barbecues deal with the clay-pot dishes, while modern grills turn out the meat skewers, smoked sausages and chickens that complete the menu. Our must-order is a sticky, dense assemblage of glass noodles with pork belly and brown crab, but there’s also grilled Tamworth pork loin paired with a sweet, dark fish-sauce dip and super-spicy Laos-style salad with roasted rice and a heavy dose of chilli. Order stir-fried greens or brown jasmine rice to counteract these intense, salty flavours, and drink quality beers or something from the ever-evolving wine list. Uncomfortable stools don’t encourage lingering and mark-ups sometimes seem high, but this high-voltage newcomer is an undoubted hit.
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SquareMeal 3 Stars
58 Brewer Street
Piccadilly Circus Tube Station 200m
Leicester Square Tube Station 460m
Piccadilly Theatre 79m
Lyric Theatre 146m
Mon-Sat 12N-2.30pm 5-10.30pm Sun 1pm-8pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Really fun counter dining where you're guaranteed tasty food and an interesting glass of wine
Food + drink: 5
We arrived at around 12.30 on Saturday, I was half expecting not be able to get in as I’d heard such good things about the food, it turns out we were just ahead of the rush as by 1pm, there was a queue out of the door. There were a couple of large tables already seated downstairs, and as we had stools in front of the open kitchen, we got to see most dishes get cooked and plated up in front of us, which we thought would help us choose, but in reality made it more difficult as we wanted everything. The menu is not huge (3 skewers, 5 or 6 mains and 3 sides) and I suspect that some of the dishes change regularly depending on what is in season, available etc. We had the chicken skewers and lamb skewers (the only disappointing dish, as in between each piece of lamb was a piece of chewy fat, so in reality only 4 small cubes of meat, which were not anything special), the chicken was beautifully done though. I had been told that the clay-pot noodles with crab meat and Tamworth pork belly were a “must” and they did not disappoint, we scraped the bottom of the bowl clean, along with a superb melt in the mouth short rib curry and a “dry” mackerel curry, which had a wonderfully hot and spicy lemongrass and chilli sauce on top. All the plates are small and for sharing and we were told that 3-4 per person would be the norm, but the 5 dishes we had (with a nice flinty Reisling) was just right for us. The Tamworth pork jungle curry sold out while we were there, it did look amazing, one to try next time. Having sat at quite a few open kitchens, this was the quietest I have ever seen, the two chefs didn’t speak a word to each other the whole time we were there, but the head chef checked and tasted every plate before it left the pass and gave them feedback throughout, which was interesting, I think I am used to the theatre and enthusiasm at places like Barrafina and StreetXO, but it certainly didn’t affect the quality of the food and they were working flat-out. Excellent value at £75 inc. service.
A group of 4 of us ate downstairs pre-theatre. it only has 5 bench-seating wooden tables with room for about 25. We sat from 5.30- 7pm and there were more empty seats than occupied by the time we left; but the counter upstairs was full then.
A limited menu - 2 starters of lamb on skewers and sliced soy-cooked chicken; then 2 fish and 4-5 meat dishes, most with mangalitsa pork. Then stir-fried greens and brown rice. All was spicy (the chillies were very!), hot, freshly prepared and looked good. The glass noodles in a pot with pork and crab were a highlight (but a bit thin on crab).
Glasses of craft beer (2 choices) and several unusual red and whites, along with bottles of still and sparkling water provided gratis.
Interesting music too; loud enough and no thudding disco-stuff.
Around a dozen plates, 4 glasses of wine and 2 beers came out a just over £100 pre-service; very good value, plus efficient friendly service (thank you Adam!).
Only minor complaint - Apparently no hot water in the facilities!
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