What's the draw
The closure of Ben Chapman's much-loved Smoking Goat on Denmark Street had many a Thai food fan up in arms, but the opening of a bigger site in Shoreditch last winter has softened the blow. Chapman's nose-to-tail philosophy presents itself in a flurry of flaming-hot dishes (even the salads) inspired by Thailand and made with seasonal British ingredients, served up in a dark, bustling dining room.
What to drink
Chilli, lemongrass, lime, mandarin and more make their way onto the cocktail list, paired with spirits in simple stirred and long drinks. After that, there are London craft beers aplenty and a succinct and new-school wine list put together by blogger and all-round food guy Zeren Wilson – which veers, as you might imagine from the flavours of the food on offer, between refreshingly flinty, zesty white wine and the more aromatic side of the scale. The gewürztraminer spätlese (a classic gewürztraminer with a touch of sweetness and a lot of florality) from Germany's Weingut Weigand should hold its own even in the face of some serious heat.
What to eat
You know that dear friend, whom you love to death, but who "doesn't really like hot food"? Yeah, don't bring them here. At Smoking Goat, you're in the 'food so hot it makes you delirious' realm (as you'd expect from an alumnus of David Thompson's iconic Bangkok restaurant Nahm) – none of which, we should point out, feels gratuitous. Appetisers make that clear from the off, whether it's the salty, moreish chicken heart skewer (an absolute snip at £1), the fish sauce wings or the duck laab (a warm ground meat salad laced with lemongrass and chilli which, in this case, is an absolute firecracker). For mains, the whole steamed sea bass, laced with aromatic spice, is a real treat, and the massaman goat curry – redolent with a punch of muscovado sweetness to complement its lazy heat – is a must-order. Smoking Goat is dead; long live Smoking Goat.
Appetisers from £1; large plates from £9; wine from £6 by the glass. 64 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ; smokinggoatbar.com