Kiln is accessible and fun – moving Thai food even further from the curry house-like experience so common in the UK
This diminutive Soho restaurant is a former National Restaurant of the Year, succeeding against all the odds to beat much larger and more expensive places to the top spot in 2018.
The restaurant deals in incredibly punchy (when the team at Kiln say something is hot, take heed) small plates of carefully cooked Thai food that often use parts of the animal that don’t typically make it to the plate on the shores. They include half lobster with curried head meat; a wild ginger and beef neck curry from Burma; and fried curry of monkfish and its liver. Its clay pot baked glass noodles intertwined with slivers of pork belly and crab meat are a must.
The food is unfussy and the service is warm but brisk. Opened in late 2016, Kiln is billed as a side-of-the-road-style establishment – the flavours are authentic, yet founders Ben Chapman and Brian Hannon (who also run Smoking Goat in Shoreditch) are clear that the dishes, which draw influence from the country’s northern borderlands, aren’t designed to be facsimiles of those found in Thailand.
Despite the Brewer Street restaurant’s low price point, Chapman is obsessive about the quality of his ingredients, with fish sourced from Cornish dayboats and meat coming from the UK’s most distinguished producers.
Kiln isn’t really a restaurant that’s ever sought the limelight. Its founders are ambitious and well connected in the industry but you’re unlikely to see them cooking lamb and cumin skewers on breakfast TV. And those in the know can’t get enough of this Soho gem.