Chef Neil Rankin has decided on Covent Garden as the location for his third Temper site, following branches in Soho and the City. It’s one of a growing number of decent restaurants opening in an area that’s keen to shake off its tourist-trap reputation. Although the decor here follows brand guidelines (note the central counter kitchen), the focus is on small starting plates of pasta followed by giant sharing pizzas for mains.
The pasta, especially, impresses: we enjoyed golden, nugget-like fried tortellini filled with melted St-Marcellin cheese and a stream of honey; and were also taken by the stringy lardo carbonara, a creamy delight that dissolves on the tongue. Next, Temper’s pizzas are all in good fun – even if they occasionally seem to favour appearance over flavour. We tried the Detroit, a rectangular sharing pizza with puffed-up dough, and opted for half-and-half toppings: the sinfully dirty ‘cheeseburger’ option mixes tender aged-beef ragu with a mouth-puckering combination of sharp pickles, tangy burger sauce and fiery yellow mustard, while the goat ragu choice is like posh spag Bol on a pizza: as homey and comforting as it sounds.
The calorific theme continues for afters, via desserts such as the indulgent, gooey deep-dish Nutella cookie. Keenly priced and plenty of fun – and with a well-stocked bar to boot (tuck into Vermouth, Negronis or Aperol Spritz) – Covent Garden’s Temper is a solid option for a night of ‘screw the diet’ feasting and drinking.