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Smoky, messy - what's not to like? We Test Drive Smoking Goat

What can you tell us about Smoking Goat?

It's a Thai BBQ spot squeezed into a tiny space on Denmark Street - loud, smoky and crazily busy it instantly became one of London's hotspots when it opened. The brains behind it are owner Ben Chapman who's brought in chef Seb Holmes from Peckham's The Begging Bowl and an impressive team. Read our full story here

Where should we meet friends for a drink first?

This part of London's pretty chaotic right now with work for Crossrail having changed the landscape. Short of stumping out for drinks at Paramount - which sits oddly when you're heading for Smoking Goat afterwards - maybe your best bet is to meet here and squeeze into whatever space by the door you can. Which means, while waiting you can try one of their unlisted cocktails - our kaffir lime leaf margarita and palm sugar old fashioned were good and strong.

Where should I sit?

Honestly? Wherever you can get a seat. We were here on a Tuesday night in the run up to Christmas and the place was crazily busy. That said, if you do happen upon a quiet night here - the most fun you'll have is eating perched up at the bar.

Of course if you want to avoid the whole walk-ins only shenanigans, you could always book out the lazy susan private room now open at the rear of the restaurant. That seats between 8-10 people and you get a set price feast for £35 a head. And soon they'll be doing smoked cuts from the whole animals they're butchering just for the feast menu.

And the food?

It's an absurdly short menu which in some ways is good as you're going to want to eat all of it, which between two of us we pretty much did. So the real answer is - come hungry. Order everything.

The fish sauce wings for £6 were possibly the most pimped up, standout wings we've ever eaten. Marinated with garlic and fish sauce, slow cooked then tempura batter fried, they take dirty food to a new level. And - we hear - they have a spicy version on the way soon. That was followed by a deeply satisying dish of smoked lamb ribs, basted with fermented shrimp, chilli and palm sugar - and a generous serving for £15.

All the main courses come with a fresh Som Tam salad, balls of sticky rice and jaew dipping sauces which you'll need to counterbalance all that smoky meat and rich fish.

Sadly the crab that everyone raves on about wasn't on the night we were here, but judging by what we did eat, if it is - order that too. But we did have the whole wood roast chilli jam sea bass £20 which came stuffed with pandanas, lemongrass and galangal and would have happily sufficed to feed three or four if you were having a few other dishes. And if you're here in the afternoon make sure you try their oysters served with a green nam Jim (green thai chili, lime, Palm sugar and fish sauce) for £1 a tasty pop.

What about the drink?

You could stick to the baobab cold press 'lemonade' but when the wine list has been curated by roving sommelier Zeren Wilson, why would you? The extremely good value list starts at £4 for a proper 175ml glass of Vin de Pays and rising to £38 for a Gewürztraminer from winemaker Markus Schneider. When asked to describe the list, Zeren said it was "grower focused, from winemakers and wineries making characterful wines, no rules or limits as to country of origin, but keeping an eye on the punchy flavours and spicing on the menu."

There are interesting beers on tap and you can order 'sharing beers' in a 750ml bottle (choose from Brooklyn beer or Cornish Pilton cider).

Overall thoughts

We might have been slow in getting round to trying Smoking Goat, but in the intervening period they've added new dishes and that new private dining room, so maybe we had it timed right after all. There's a reason everyone, including us, loves this place. Get down there pronto for those wings and tell them we sent you. 

Smoking Goat is at 7 Denmark Street WC2H 8LZ.

Hot Dinners ate as guests of Smoking Goat. Prices were correct at the time of writing. 

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