Temper

London

“Original and surprising dishes served with a hipster-vibe ”

25 Broadwick Street

+44 (0) 20 3879 3834

http://temperrestaurant.com/soho-menus/

Machismo’s gentler side

Claim to fame: Acclaimed barbecue chef Neil Rankin’s more grown-up Soho restaurant  
Reason to go: Original and surprising dishes served with a hipster-vibe 
To look out for: Brilliant meats, off-beat flavor combinations, on-trend global dishes

Chef Neil Rankin made his name with a series of barbecue cook-offs at the now closed, tiny yet famed Pitt Cue Co. restaurant in a Soho basement. The barbecue king label has stuck with him, but his cooking has moved on to gather diverse new influences. Temper is also housed in a Soho basement, but this one’s altogether more plush and spacious with nearly 200 seats in green upholstered booths and at a marble-topped counter that surrounds the large kitchen. 

Get a seat at the counter, if you can, to watch the dishes being prepared in an array of fire pits and ovens by predictably tattooed and leather-aproned chefs, working away to a hip-hop soundtrack. There’s delicacy here though, despite macho posturing and whole carcasses being carved; fish is gently probed with thermometers, burger patties are carefully weighed then seared on a charcoal grill, and tacos are nimbly hand-rolled. Those tacos are one of many nods to Latin American tastes, yet they’re twisted a notch; a crab taco with the consistency of coleslaw for instance. 

Main courses are served on much larger flatbreads, such as the chili and bone marrow; a hollow thighbone reveals quivering marrow, smothered in a spicy meat sauce spiked with raw green chilies and diced raw onion, topped with an American-style cheese sauce. The flavors are full-on in this and many other combos, like a side dish of Thai-style larb made with burnt ends (of beef), served with a tangle of leaves and herbs; or smacked cucumber, the classic Sichuan salad with its double-punch of ‘ma-la’ (numbing and hot) Sichuan pepper and chili spicing.  

Some customers make it as far as dessert, magically finding room for the Breton cake kouign-amman, served with a butterscotch sauce and dulce de leche ice cream. Many more are distracted by the wine list which is long and varied, with bottles brought from a huge glass-walled vault that lines the walls. Guests who arrive early might be shepherded into a basement anteroom cocktail bar, but don't rely on it, Temper is always packed in the evenings, and space at a premium. 

To avoid the crowds, visit for lunch when, on most days, you can walk straight in and have a table to yourself. But midday you’re less likely to be interested in the mezcal list, which even has flight options. Don’t be fooled by all this Tex-Mex testosterone-bait; the staff is simpatico, and the cooking is more subtly nuanced than it might sound.  

12forward by White Guidelists 12 eateries in each chosen city that represent the very forefront of gastronomy.