It was 30 degrees in London this weekend. As a Scottish person that’s just too hot for me, and for my ginger boyfriend it’s practically unbearable. So when I suggested going to Kiln, a fairly small restaurant with an open kitchen where they cook with fire, he wasn’t hugely keen. Over an Aperol spritz in a nearby bar, I worked on him telling him about their recent win as the UK’s best restaurant, the Thai grill concept, and how I reallllllly wanted to go, eventually breaking him down. And let me tell you, it was worth the persuading.
Sister restaurant to Shoreditch’s Smoking Goat, Kiln has been open for less than a year and has been getting rave reviews from everyone who dines there. There’s a full restaurant downstairs where tables of four or more can book, and a kitchen counter upstairs for smaller groups. Here, you can watch the chefs as they cook on open fires, in, yep you guessed it, kilns.
We headed along on a Monday lunchtime, praying that there wouldn’t be a huge queue forcing us to stand outside in the baking heat. Thankfully, although there was a queue, we were invited inside to look at the menu and order a drink. Soon, we were grabbing a seat at the counter, overlooking the chefs working their magic. Our reservations about cooking alongside the food were unfounded as it’s a spacious place with plenty of windows and doors flung open to the Soho streets.
One of the major plusses at Kiln is that you can watch the chefs prepare the dishes. Seeing them hard at work really makes you appreciate the passion and hard work that goes into the cooking. They worked at a hundred miles an hour, chopping, cooking, and tidying up, and everything was kept absolutely spotless, always a good sign!
Soon the first of our dishes arrived; the chicken and the sausage. To say the sausage had a kick would have been an understatement, it held together perfectly and crumbled in a savoury, spicy mouthful of deliciousness. The chicken was lovely too, with the perfect amount of fat to make it melt in your mouth, and charcoal bits to give more texture.
Next up was my favourite dish, the Cornish greens. I know that vegetables are rarely a meat eater’s favourite part of a meal but these were coated in soy sauce, with garlic and herbs and were really great to pick at. They also worked well with my pork laap, the browned lamb mince and spices complimenting them perfectly.
The star of the show though were the claypot glass noodles. Cooked in their claypot, directly on hot coals, their smell was the first sign that they were going to be amazing. A little crispy on top, they were soft underneath, with a sweet and salty taste, classic to Thai dishes. The Tamworth belly and crab meat were sat underneath the noodles and both were soft and flavoursome.
Although we had just chosen random dishes from the menu with no thought if they would work together, they all did. We ended up mixing forkfuls from various dishes, and they all complimented each other. And that’s the beauty of Kiln. Each dish just seems to work with the other ones, meaning that you can eat you meal like a pick ‘n’ mix.
The total bill was just over £45 for food, beers, which is pretty decent for somewhere that just won the title of best restaurant in the UK……