I think I must be about a year late to the party on this one. Twitter has been blowing up for months now, about this authentic little shack situated in a long neglected area just by Tottenham Court Road.
I cannot be bothered to moan about no-reservation restaurants any more – just read this if you want an accurate representation of how I feel about them. I just refuse to go if there is a queue now.
However, having switched to earlier hours at work recently, I found myself in Soho with a friend at the ghost-town time of 5pm. We planned on going to Bo Drake, but realising it didn’t open for another half an hour at precisely the same time a monsoon began, we slipped frantically into the empty Smoking Goat.
With such a short menu, we decided to order the entire lot, bar the chilli crab – saving that for a potential return visit when we were wearing splashproof non-workwear.
First out, and defying the rule of saving the best for last, were the fish sauce wings. These were incredible. Fried in the thinnest, crispiest batter imaginable (Korean wings don’t even come close) then coated in a salty, sweet and super-savoury sauce – quite possibly the best wings I’ve ever had, I could have done another 2 portions to myself. (3 whole wings, £6)
Next out was the roasted aubergine salad – blackened shallots and baby aubergines mixed with pungent Thai herbs and doused in a tangy ‘jaew’ dressing. The punchy flavours are quite strange and disorientating for the average western palate at first. (Enough for 2, £6)
The slow roast duck legs came next. These also came with jaew sauce on the side, but we had had enough of that flavour after the salad so ate them au naturale. They were perfectly cooked, still firm but tender, but rather tamely flavoured. Also felt slightly stupid paying this much when a whole duck can be had for around the same price down the road in Chinatown. (2 legs and a thigh, £15)
Moo ping pork chop came out next. A big, thick slab of meat – great pork flavour, but once again the seasoning was muted. The saving grace was the thick, meaty sauce it lay in, that was mopped up with the sticky rice. (About a 350g bone-in chop, £15)
Finally, to finish things off, was a pomelo salad scattered with mouth-scalding chillies. Nice and zingy. (£3.50)
Everything was cooked very well, with authentic and unusual flavours. I would definitely go back for the wings and the chilli crab and (on this occasion, unavailable) rendang short rib, but a one hour+ queue is just not worth it. Definitely worth a try if you’re around during off-peak hours…
Meal for 2, £60