I first came across Temper via Instagram, where a girl that I follow posted a picture of a seductively lit flatbread adorned with a throbbing pink handful of flesh. Upon further investigation, and by that I mean I stalked other people’s intimate Iphone snaps of the plates, I gathered that it was a new Soho restaurant opened by the barbecue connoisseur Neil Rankin. Thank goodness it wasn’t another try-hard health cafe in West London or a too-cool for comfortable seats hipster joint in the East. This is an accessible, informal but top-service restaurant with Turkish-style meat offerings. The image of a greasy kebab will not even stray across your mind. Not with the sophisticated, simple wine menu and the variety of sauces and side dishes at Temper. But now we are moving too fast.
Getting a reservation at a prime hour even on a weekday is not the easiest feat and even then, you are likely to end up at the bar overlooking the kitchen as I was. As it turns out, this is one of the more preferable seats in the house as you have the full attention of the well-stocked roster of staff and a view of the dishes being prepared before you (blow torch action on some raclette, anyone?)
Tapas-style sharing dishes in London restaurants seem to be a trend that refuses to die out and Temper is no different. For starters, there are tacos and ‘plates’, essentially tiny floury tortillas. Try the soy-cured beef, a spicy carpaccio that borrows its acidity from the kimchi that it comes with (£7), or the crab and pickled onion pork skin (£9) that sounds as exotic as British food ever could. In fact, it’s an easy dish that’s a sure crowd pleaser. More Asian flavours come through with the aubergine and chipotle miso, which tastes exactly as you’d think, with the chipotle offering a little tangy kick through its sweet, creamy texture (£6.50).
Having ordered three plates for two people, we held back on ordering the soft tacos. Notably, Chef Rankin is an advocate of sustainability and items such as the beef fat taco on the menu is a sign that nothing goes to waste in his kitchen. And nothing went to waste at our table either. Each 100g portion (prices are per 100 grams and you order accordingly) of beef (£9.50), lamb (£7.50) and goat (£9.50) that arrived was served succulent and medium rare, and inevitably went down easily. As prompted by our waiter, we were advised to choose a few sauces (all £1) for our big plates that were to be had in a ‘make your own tortilla’ fashion. The ‘green sauce’, a kind of salsa verde provided a sweet, mildly astringent cut to the juices from the meat, and the pork, habanero and pickled onion ‘sprinkles’ (50p) were reminiscent of Monster Munch crisps. Yes, really.
Also, you know how everyone is supposed to be a special snowflake and deep down we can agree that this isn’t true? Well it is for Temper’s meat selection where each are individually packed with explosive flavour, even the goat, which I was hesitant to like as I injured myself climbing down a hill on a mission to bond with the mountain goats during my recent trip to Greece. If I was going to sacrifice a bruise-free body to the goal of befriending the billies, I didn’t very well want to find them even more flavourful than their bleating cousins. But I did. Accompanying this were the beef fat potatoes with raclette (£5) and a well-rounded, rich LA Cetto, Petite Syrah (£8 for 175ml) from Mexico.
Desserts at Temper are compact and appetising (no easy feat considering how heavy the meats are). The hot, flaky, caramelised crust of the buttery kouign amann (£6) is a true game changer, and I don’t even like pastry. Think about what the Victoria’s Secret version of a croissant would be and you have yourself the sloppy butterscotch dessert of your dreams that comes with a serving of dulce de leche ice cream.
Rankin’s Temper is one to experience. Casual, non-pretentious and serious about feeding their carnivorous clientele, this restaurant goes down on my favourites list. Bring your parents, bring your partner, bring your vegetarian friend (only if they are willing) to lose their V-card (and that’s veggie, by the way). It doesn’t matter, you just have to go.
25 Broadwick St.
London W1F 0DF