Temper Covent Garden, located on buzzy Mercer Walk, had a brief dalliance with Italian cuisine but has now converted to a menu not dissimilar to its popular counterparts, Temper City and Temper Soho. This is chef Neil Rankin back to what Neil Rankin does best – meat.
As with the other sites, this is not a tranquil dining experience – expect flames and furore as you watch the chefs at work in the centrally positioned open kitchen. For a closer piece of the action, request a counter-dining spot where you’ll be in full view of the culinary theatrics. The vibe is fast and fun and the drinks list is reason alone to give this lively hotspot a visit. We recommend starting with a smoky Mezcal Negroni before perusing the extensive but affordable wine list.
Corn tacos are a light and fresh prelude to the barbecue feast and ideal for sharing between two. We opted for the soft-shell crab and Dorito fried fish; both are moreish, topped generously with chipotle sour cream and finished with freshly chopped chilli, red onion and herbs.
Next we went for goat carnitas from the wood oven and a rib-eye steak on the bone from the robata grill. The goat is rich and gamey with a subtle heat from chilli and the zing of fresh lime. The chewy flatbread it comes atop is fairly non-descript but efficient for mopping up all the leftover sauces.
Steak is well-seasoned, tender and tasty – a rare feat to tick all the boxes but credit to quality ingredients treated with deserved respect. The extra cost of sauces and sides make mains a pricey affair, but the beef-fat béarnaise and bourbon pepper sauce are worthy additions in equal measure.
At this point desserts may seem like an overindulgence – but miss them at your peril! The deep dish Nutella cookie, served in a hot skillet with peanut butter ice cream, is the stuff of dreams and worth every calorie.
The quick service and convenient location make this a perfect pre-theatre stop, the outdoor terrace seating provides a lovely spot for lunch, while a zero-waste policy means you can eat with a clear conscience. But our main advice? Come hungry!