Speedboat Bar

Bars, Thai·
Bronze Award

SquareMeal Review of Speedboat Bar

Bronze Award

There’s nothing shy about Luke Farrell’s second London restaurant. It’s a clanging, cart-wheeling cacophony of colour and it’s the result of a menu that draws on the unique flavours of Bangkok's Chinatown.

The decor is so bad it’s good, with scrubbed down, tightly-packed stainless steel tables adorned with laminated menus, and a 70s style floral carpet. It’s the type of place that feels hectic in an endearing way. Staff wave you in then make you wait, orders are so rushed there are hiccups, but all the while you’re happy amongst the masses who are there - like you - to scratch an itch for a Southeast Asian food habit that they no doubt developed on a year abroad.

Maximalist drinks match the interiors; cocktails are adorned with giddy paper umbrellas and are juicy with fresh fruit. They’re the ideal quencher for the vibrant food to follow. A turquoise plastic bowl is heaped with golden hunks of chicken skin sprinkled liberally in sharp and hot ‘zaep seasoning’ powder (an addictive, sharp, hot, salty mix of chilli and MSG), while elsewhere a pile of crispy chicken wing matchsticks hide under a blanket of julienned green mango fizzing with fish sauce and lime.

A larger plate carries a mound of fried rice, which tastes of the scorching hot wok, smoky in parts and addictively savoury. A potato and seasonal gourd curry is rich and creamy, while sweet and sour sticky aubergines have silky white flesh and a bit of bite. Our favourite thing though is a £22 plate of noodles: a tumble of seafood and beef plus chewy freshly made sheets of wide, flat noodles. It’s charred and smoky, slathered in a thick sauce and exactly the kind of thing you’d demolish in five seconds at the end of a night.

Everything is bold and boisterous, clanging from hot to sour to savoury to sweet. The results are pitch-perfect comfort food flavours on steroids that make the overall experience feel like one you could never get bored of.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Under £30
Bars, Thai
Cool, Fun, Lively, Quirky, Unique
Food Occasions
All day dining, Dinner, Late night dining, Lunch
Special Features
Vegetarian options
Perfect for
Celebrations, Dates
Food Hygiene Rating


A love letter to Bangkok’s Chinatown and the boat racers who race along Thailand’s canals, Speedboat Bar is the second opening from chef Luke Farrell. Sandwiched between two Soho staples, The Palomar and The Blue Posts, the restaurant serves up exciting wok-fired dishes and unusual cocktails. Here, the kitchen turns out punchy Thai-Chinese flavours, showcasing Farrell’s skill in the area. Farrell, after training at Salt Yard, travelled around south-east Asia honing his craft, as well as gathering seeds and cuttings to grow back in the UK to give him his very own larder of ingredients. Now, he incorporates produce from his Ryewater Nursery in Dorset to bolster the authenticity with exotic ingredients.

Just like the eponymous waterborne daredevils, the cooking here is fast. Market-style favourites like drunken noodles fly out of the kitchen as Thai turbo-folk blares on the sound system. Showcasing Farrell’s blend of fresh flavours with plenty of kick, the menu features concoctions like lychee with roasted duck and soya chicken with winter melon. Even the salads bring the heat; the yam mamuang sees green mango tossed with crispy fish, pork floss and chillis. Elsewhere you’ll find the classic hot and sour noodle soup, tom yam mama. The only dessert comes in the form of a candied pineapple and butter pie, its sweetness promising to soothe palates after Farrell’s scorching flair.

As the name might suggest, this is just as much a bar as it is a restaurant. The drinks focus on sharing, although it’s unlikely you’ll want to once you start sipping. Try the gleefully over-the-top tower of Singha beer, or push the boat out with a snakesblood negroni. Slushies and chasers are on hand too, along with a jelly bia made with frozen Leo lager. Upstairs you’ll find the clubhouse bar, with signed portraits of racers lining the walls paying homage to those who originally inspired the site.


Who is Luke Farrell?

Luke Farrell is the chef behind the popular Thai restaurant Plaza Khao Gaeng and now Speedboat Bar.

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Who runs Speedboat Bar?

Speedboat Bar is run by JKS Restaurants, which also runs Trishna, Gymkhana, Berenjak, Hoppers and many other popular restaurants.

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Speedboat Bar


30 Rupert Street, Soho, London, W1D 6DL

Opening Times

All day
Mon 12:00-00:00
Tue 12:00-00:00
Wed 12:00-00:00
Thu 12:00-00:00
Fri 12:00-01:00
Sat 12:00-01:00
Sun 12:00-23:00


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1 Review 

David H

07 January 2024   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Great food and a great atmosphere

great food and a really chilled atmosphere . Will definitely go back 

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