Temper, London

After seeing this place on Masterchef I definitely wanted to try it out. Cooking on charcoal, and walking in with the whiff of barbecued meat, their open fire pit, ‘flame is king’ vibe is clear from the off. The main dining space surrounds the smoky kitchen, placed in the restaurant’s dark, cool basement. Everything is showcased right before your eyes, prep to service, including cuts of beef, pork, lamb, smoked ribs, koftas and shawarmas. The interiors contrast the open bare flames, full of dark green stools, deep red leather and diner style booths to give a relaxed setting.

Chef Rankins’ newest venture in Soho defies convention, no starters or mains here, instead a smorgasbord of snacks, tacos, smoked and grilled meats, sides, vegetables, sauces and ‘sprinkles’. The idea is to graze with wild abandon until your greasy fingers can’t raise another morsel. Start with the tacos (the corn is ground on site) – little mouthfuls with mighty flavours.

We’d heard all the rave about these taco cheese burgers and it was our first dish. Despite the portion size being smaller than expected, it didn’t disappoint. A salty, crispy, succulent smack in the mouth that kind of sums up the approach to flavours – big, bold and brazen. Lacking some subtly for sure and without a great sense of balance, we found greater pleasure in the other dishes, especially the beautiful shawarmas ladened with mint, chilli and yoghurt.

If you’re had one of those types of days or weeks where you feel life is passing you by, Temper could be the perfect place to wake up the senses. Nothing overly fussy or refined makes it through the fire pit, and what remains are strong, powerful flavours that will leave a mark.

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