It says on the homepage of Temper’s website: Barbecue, Tacos, Wine, Mezcal, Good Times, and that pretty much sums it up.
Temper occupies a corner plot in one of the big new developments on Soho’s Broadwick Street, you’d be forgiven for not really realising it was there as most of the restaurant (and the magic) is actually hidden away downstairs. It was a pretty swelteringly hot June evening when my sister and I decided to visit and despite being over 30ºC outside, we were surprisingly comfortable sat at the bar surrounding the open kitchen (which holds the most enormous indoor barbecue I’ve ever seen and a huge wood fired oven). They must have a seriously good ventilation system.
I walked down the stairs into the main dining room and immediately loved the cool underground (literally and figuratively speaking) vibe at Temper. The something about the atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re part of the in-crowd but yet somehow manages not to be pretentious. Something about the dim lighting, friendly staff who you want to be mates with and party tunes manages to create this kind of magical ambience. The tunes are awesome and I’d strongly recommend bar seating if there’s only two of you and you like to have a good nose at what’s going on behind the scenes, like me!
With a jug of water and a glass of prosecco on the go we started things off with a couple of dishes from the taco section of the menu. Rather than your traditional starter, main course, dessert, the menu here is laid out a little differently but the staff really know their stuff and will happily explain it to you. We did separate our meal into a few courses but you could easily do it tapas style, anything goes.
As we were going to to be having a few meaty dishes from the barbecue section after, we decided to go for both of the seafood tacos. There’s a crab one and a prawn one. If you’re squeamish or fussy about prawns then steer clear as you will have to get your hands a little dirty to get stuck into them. However, if you don’t mind then it’s totally worth it as they’re absolutely divine. Warm and spicy, with just the right amount of heat this is definitely the sort of dish I eat and immediately want to know how to recreate it. The crab was delicious too, really refreshing, a perfect summer dish.
After the tacos we ventured into the ‘chopped, smoked & grilled’ section of the menu and ordered some barbecue goat and the Thai burnt ends. The burnt ends were basically the off cuts from all the different cuts of meat stewed in Thai spices to create an entirely new dish. The waitress had a much better description than mine but you get the idea! This was a tasty dish, and an ingenious way of minimising the restaurant’s food waste, however it was probably the only thing we ate that I wouldn’t order again. I can’t really put my finger on there being anything wrong with it, just perhaps not my cup of tea. The goat on the other hand I would order again twice over. It’s a meat that a lot of people would turn their noses up at as a poor man’s lamb. Goat has a bad rep, but anyone who thinks that really needs to go and taste the goat at Temper and it will change their minds. It was so juicy and delicious and tasty, I’m salivating just think about it. Tastier than beef or lamb I would choose this first any day.
Our first side dish was grilled courgette with chimichurri, which as a big courgette fan, I particularly enjoyed. The stand out dish though was the beef fat potatoes. They were slightly guilt inducing, particularly when your at in front of the veg section of the kitchen and can see the mountains of cheese they’re being roasted in. However you really need to forget that and just dive head first into the gooey cheese indulgent deliciousness.
If you’re a regular reader of the blog you’ll know I’m not much of a dessert person, but on such a hot day I couldn’t resist the lime sorbet with a cheeky shot of Mezcal. The scoop of sorbet is served floating in the shot and sprinkled with lime zest and chilli. The flavour combinations really zing and it was really refreshing, even though the shot was a little strong for me!
I’ll definitely be going back to Temper, I really loved the taco and barbecue concept and the restaurant has a fantastic vibe. It’s hard to categorise as it’s quite a unique place and unique menu but I really feel Temper is doing something right in moving the London dining scene forward. I’d thoroughly recommend you give it a try and, oh my god, you have to try the goat!