What: The third venture from the team behind the Soho restaurant of the same name and Kiln, and the first foray for the group outside of Soho. The offering is Thai drinking food, specialist beers, wines and a few cocktails.
Who: Ben Chapman and his business partner Brian Hannon, who co own the Soho restaurants, have moved head chef Ali Borer from the Denmark Street site to become co owner and head chef of the Shoreditch outpost. Wines have been chosen by Zeren Wilson.
The vibe: The site, part of Shoreditch’s Tea Factory building, used to be an old ‘pound in the pint glass’ strip club with boarded up windows. The team have transformed the space, working with project manager Colin Harding and specialist woodworker Dan Preston. The window boards have been ripped down to reveal huge 30’s factory scale windows. Seating is mostly canteen-like, with the exception of a couple of booths. An open kitchen with counter seating gives customers a good view of the chefs cooking on Thai tao charcoal burners and open grills.
The food: The menu focuses on ‘aharn glam lao’- or, ‘drinking food’, comprising small snacks to eat with your hands, priced between £1-7. Larger dishes are designed to be shared and are priced between £9-13. Plates include the popular fish sauce wings from the brand’s Soho site; Tamworth pork skewers; chicken heart skewers; mussels with green mango and chilli; cured monkfish with young ginger; and ultra-spicy duck laab. Larger sharing dishes include a barbecue goat turmeric massaman curry; gelatinous, flat drunken noodles with smoked brisket; soya braised chicken; and sour and spicy d’tom yam soup with wild mussels, velvet crab
And another thing: Chapman is seriously into his sourcing, and works with specialist farmers to get ingredients that are both as authentic as possible. Thai and Chinese herbs and vegetables are grown in Cornwall by Sean O’Neil of The Modern Salad Grower, and Luke Farrell. As a brand rule, all fish comes from UK shores and is mostly Cornish. Tamworth pigs are bred especially for the restaurant, and an in-house butchery will soon be completed, allowing Roberto De Gouveia to join the site as the restaurant’s butchery.