Self-taught chef Ben Chapman’s success at the Smoking Goat has now led him to his new Thai restaurant, Kiln – looking to take road-side cooking to an entirely new level. The small restaurant has a lovely open kitchen bar design, where you perch on stools while watching the chefs in action and the barbecue smells wetting your appetite. I do love a nice open kitchen and the action-packed cooking area is perfect for a solo diner looking to try some fine Thai street food. Sitting and watching the flames go off from under the woks with the heat from the oak logs and charcoal grills hitting your face is a real delight. In no time, your food will be served and your taste buds filled with incredibly tasty and delicious Thai food! It does take me back to my Thai holidays when I was younger and eating up those delicious roadside delicacies. Chef Chapman has done it once again and this time with one of London’s hottest restaurants!
Small(ish) plates perfect to share or eat on your own!
Continuing on with the solo travel theme from Wales, I visited Kiln alone and managed to quickly bag a single stool between two sets of couples (perks of eating solo). The menu is designed for sharing with smaller plates but that doesn’t mean you can’t go alone, I for sure was not the only lone diner there that night. It just means you order more and eat more! The menu is extensive with a range of ingredients and bold flavors and is divided into a few sections, something along the lines of starters, fish, meat, noodles and veg/accompaniments.
This is the best appetizer slash starter to a meal ever. It is refreshing, smooth, crunchy, acidic, sweat – basically everything that is needed to get your taste buds going and kicking off an awesome evening of food. The only thing that is vaguely similar for comparison is a cerviche. It is filled with a generous portion of monkfish sashimi, topped with crunchy onions and garnishes. It is recommended to eat the whole thing in a mouthful, wrapped around the leaf. You won’t regret eating it as a whole as the sweetness, savory flavors and acidity kicks in, swimming around your mouth with the raw fish. So joyous, perfect and heavenly.
Aged Lamb and Cumin Skewer
A popular dish here is this lamb skewer. Orders comes in one nicely charcoaled, nearly burnt but just about perfect skewer of meat. It is crunchy and meaty and just about does it with the saltiness. What really adds well to the dish is the excessive sprinkles of what I think was cumin. It just adds so much flavor to the textured meat and just gives it this nice tang.
Smoked Sausage with Turmeric
Another meaty dish but this time with the interesting herby turmeric. Last time I had a dish with so much of this spice was in Hanoi when I tried the Turmeric fish (blog to come soon!). This sausage dish was exceptionally well cooked, seasoned with bubbling flavors of pork, herbs and that gorgeous turmeric. Smokey, soft and chewy and just that tad of chili kicking in. It could probably do with a bit more turmeric but that’s just me being picky. The dish is perfectly delicious and those greens on the side was a nice little munch along with it.
Grilled Tamworth loin
My main dish of the night was this perfectly cooked to a sublime pinkish bit of pork loin. Aesthetically it was just so pleasing with the pork and the dipping sauce served on a wooden board and the obvious salt garnishes causally thrown on top. The pork was just so beautifully cooked, seasoned well and so tasty. You bite into the meat and you get this nice flow of juice spewing out with all the flavors. It came with this little fish sauce like dip that adds a bit of sourness and a bit of spicy to coat with the pork. A nice combination between that pork and dipping sauce.
Drink of the Night.
After a gin tasting not long ago at Mr. Foggs, I was curious about how the turmeric and tonic gin was going to be. A weird thought of a drink – you never would’ve thought of adding turmeric to a G&T. But it was a nice balance between the herby flavors and the gin with a nice bit of citircy grapefruit. Very refreshing.
All In All
Kiln is a sublime dinner option in London, especially for those looking for some classic Thai food. The road side dish concept is hugely popular as can be seen with the queues. The food was well cooked, tasting delicious and as always, it is a delight to watch the chefs in action. This will not be my last visit though, as I am looking to come back to try their popular langoustine and some of those properly fried pak choi. Overall a delightful evening, nice atmosphere and great food.
Also published on Medium.