London is full of buzzy, fun restaurants and it is not often that you encounter a dining experience that leaves you seduced.
Temper Soho’s dining room is in the basement. You enter and follow your nose down the stairs where your senses are bombarded by that unmistakable perfume of charred beef from their open fire pit that dominates the room. Even though it is early evening, the lights are dim, the music is booming and the place is hopping.
Every table is full even though it is early in the evening. Later, we are told that it is full from lunchtime throughout the day and they seem to turn over the tables quite quickly. This branch regularly serves up to 500 covers a day. In Covent Garden, 800 and The City, slightly quieter.
I am not sure which box to place Temper. It is not quite a British steak restaurant, more a meaty restaurant that serves really tasty dishes using really good British beef. You’d expect it to be macho and masculine but it’s quite welcoming.
The menu is not conventional, not your usual starters, mains, etc. Instead, our uber knowledgable server, Ray, suggested that we pick a few snack plates and a selection from the “Barbecue, Smoked Meats and Seafood” to share. About 3 plates per person, he said. Unfortunately for vegetarians, there are very few options.
We were hoping to try the new dishes, a pig’s head Taco de Cabeza and the intriguing ‘Whole Beast Board’ (which you have to order in advance. Unfortunately, these are not on the Soho menu yet.
So we listened and went for some Cochinita Pibil tacos, the tuna causa, beef fat cornbread with gochujang butter, chicken dukkah carnitas served on an indian flat bread and a rib eye with Korean BBQ sauce and beef fat bearnaise sauce (which was more like just a chilli oil) to share.
We have travelled around the world in flavours with Korean gochujang, Peruvian causa, Mexican tacos, Middle Eastern dukkah, Indian breads and European sauces. Strangely, the flavours don’t jar but are delightfully diverse.
The drinks menu was quite unexpected. They have a great selection of Mezcal, which you should drink like a whisky. If you don’t fancy it neat, they do some mean cocktails with Mezcal too.
We ordered the rib-eye with a side of baby potatoes bathed in melted Ogleshield cheese and of course, the charred Hispi cabbage, you can’t go wrong there.
Rare Breed Grass-Fed Beef
All their beef is sourced from Yorkshire’s Mount Grace Farm and they butcher whole sides of beef in house. There are a couple of full-time butchers on staff. We met Irish, (who is not from Ireland) who will create a flame show if you ask nicely.
This drives their nose-to-tail menu, ensuring that as there is no wastage as the offcuts are used in many different dishes. The beef fat is rendered down to use in butter, cornbread and many other dishes.
If you have room for dessert, the must have is the cookie dough with ice cream. It’s enormous and best for sharing.
The service is pitch perfect, from the smiley greeter with the amazing nails at the door, to Ray our very well informed server. None of my tricky questions about the sourcing of beef and ingredients fazed him. He was super enthusiastic and attentive all evening.
Temper is real meat lover’s ultimate dining experience. If you are looking for well-sourced, grass-fed beef, that has been aged for flavour, this is the place. Go for the food and be thrilled by the bombardment of flavours, the cheery service, the fire and energetic vibe.
Next time, I’ll sit at the kitchen counter and watch the chefs work over the fire. Who needs conversation when you have great theatre and great food.
Temper Soho – Steakhouse and Barbecue Restaurant
25 Broadwick St,
London W1F 0DF
Tel: 020 3879 3834
EatCookExplore was a guest of Temper