If you’ve spent time in Asia, specifically the South East, you will know that good food lurks around every corner, and the easiest way to spot it is to look out for blue plastic stools on street corners. Pink and blue plastic plates are a subtle nod to the culinary continent and a nice touch, adding an authenticity in an otherwise classically trendy Shoreditch setting.
Friendly staff welcomed us on an unbelievably busy Tuesday evening and happily talked us through the menu, which is a sort of pick and mix affair, as well as bigger sharing plates for larger groups, including a whole five spice braised chicken and slow-smoked Tamworth shoulder.
The menu describes the food as inspired by the late-night canteens of Bangkok and Smoking Goat certainly hit some serious South-East Asian flavour notes on the head.
We ordered the chilli fish sauce chicken wings as an appetizer after spotting them on a nearby table – and my word they were good. The Som Yum or spicy papaya salad came next and many visitors to South East Asia will recognise this dish as one that makes locals laugh when you order it. Not as devilishly spicy as ones I’ve had abroad, this version perfectly combined the flavours of fish sauce, chili, dried shrimp and lime to create a dish that would rival the old ladies of Luang Prabang.
The smoked brisket and bone marrow massaman curry was a thing to behold, served in a cooking pot with two perfect bits of melt in the mouth bone marrow nestled among a rich curry, perfect for dipping rolled up sticky rice in, and the sort you don’t want to spill on your white sun dress. The stir-fried pork mince with pickled mustard greens was salty and delicious and akin to Larb, a popular street dish in Lao.
Asian food has always been a favourite of mine and I’ve travelled through the continent extensively so, when I’m searching for those flavours in London the last place I would think to look would be Shoreditch High Street. But the people behind Smoking Goat know what they’re talking about. In no way does this place claim to be an ‘authentic’ Asian restaurant, and that’s not what it’s set out to do, but the flavours they put in to their food are bang on.
I believe a restaurants’ house white is a great indication of how much a place cares about the little details, so we ordered a couple of glasses to start. The Vinho Verde ‘Chin Chin’ from Portugal was delicious and cut through the complex rich flavours of the cooking so well we ordered a bottle.
Smoking Goat only does one dessert, so we ordered it, coconut ice cream, plantain, lime and condensed milk. A delicious combination of flavours and a very satisfying way to round of an exciting meal. There was a buzz in the air that was exactly reminiscent of late-night Asian dining and yet there was no need to shout to be heard above the noise.
We possibly ordered too much but finished everything. It’s been a while since I’ve been tempted back to Shoreditch in its current reincarnation, but Smoking Goat has given me hope that there is still treasure to be found among the ever-developing alleys.
The Smoking Goat
64 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JJ
Review by Leonie Helm