I spent a lot of time in East London whilst I was back in the UK; with covid restrictions and most people still working from home, it was a great chance to enjoy one of my old stomping grounds without the usual crowds.
Smoking Goat initially opened as a Thai BBQ and dive-bar in Soho back in 2014, opening a larger sister site in Shoreditch not long after. Whilst the original restaurant is sadly long gone, the popularity of this second location shows no signs of waning and I was lucky to be able to squeeze in, without a reservation to their last available table.
Based on late night Thai “canteens” that the chef/owners visited in Bangkok, the menu at Smoking Goat was exactly what I was after, having spent 3 weeks back in the UK delighting in all the delicious seasonal spring vegetables and my Mums home cooking, now I was ready for some spice!
The chefs at Smoking Goat have made a real commitment to using local British ingredients wherever possible which ensures some really unique dishes – especially the salads – like “Hot & Sour Salad of Monksbeard, Asparagus & Turnip” or “Pounded Salad of Lemongrass, Rhubarb & Pomelo” and I was stuck as to what to order!
In the end I chose the “Northern Thai Salad of Herbs & Coconut” as I thought it would be best matched with the other dishes I had my eye on, “the Smoked Herbal Sausage” & the “Laotian Rice Salad with Pork & Chilli”
Laotian rice salad (Nam Khao in Lao or Yam Naem in Thailand) is one of my favourite dishes to order in Isan restaurants (there is a high percentage of Laotians living in Isan) as I love all the different textures and flavours involved. It is served with lettuce leaves which you stuff with the salad of crispy rice balls, & chunks of fermented pork sausage, with a zesty lime and fish sauce dressing, fresh herbs, fiery mouse-shit chillis, spring onions and more.
I am literally unable to dine in a restaurant that has Sai Oua (Northern Thai Spice Sausage) on the menu and not order it, and the Smoking Goat version was so delicious I could have eaten another one, but for once I showed some restraint! The sausage meat is mixed with red curry paste, herbs including lemongrass and spices and then the sausage is grilled. The smoking goat version, being smoked, had an even deeper flavour and was just SO good. Go. Try it. You wont be disappointed.
My final dish was the “Yam” of northern thai herbs and coconut. I loved the earthy taste that the root vegetables they used gave it, and the coconut made it richer than many Thai salads I have tried – another huge success.
Whilst you can definitely enjoy Smoking Goat as a solo diner, I would recommend going with a couple of friends so you can order more dishes and share them – they do feats menus for groups of 8 or more which would also be great fun. All in, my lunch came to under 25 with a couple of craft beers which seemed spot on for the value and definitely helped ease my homesickness for South East Asia!
64 SHOREDITCH HIGH ST