January 9, 2023
Temper Restaurants – a collection of vibrant smokehouses in London
Some people keep lists on their phones of baby names they love and that’s lovely. But me? I keep lists of smokehouses I want to visit. As someone who could eat BBQ any time of the day, no matter the season, I am always looking for the latest smokehouse hot spots, whether they’re 30 minutes away in London or halfway across the world that I can incorporate into my next trip.
Now although Temper isn’t a new name on the block, Temper Shoreditch certainly is. The Temper chain is a collection of bespoke vibrant smokehouses with open fire pits, and extensive wine lists and is known for its impressive open kitchens, and slap bang in the middle of the restaurants. The popular chain was founded in 2016 by restauranteur Sam Lee and chef Neil Rankin, who opened the original Temper restaurant in Soho, which purely focused on their impressive variety of tacos and mezcal. As the restaurant grew in demand, their next restaurants followed suit of majoring in niche menus; the Covent Garden restaurant concentrated on house-cured meat, vermouth and pizza, while the City location opted to highlight their speciality in curry and gin. However, since Rankin left the group in 2019, all locations have re-aligned back to their core model of showcasing their mouth-watering tacos and rare steaks, which are prepared and cooked in the open kitchen behind the bar. A show not to be missed.
Having managed to navigate their way through the pandemic and remind the people of London just how great they are, the Temper chain decided to expand once again and has recently opened its 4th location spanning across two floors on Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch. The first in the group to have a split-level restaurant, the Shoreditch location has a dedicated cocktail bar area and DJ on the ground floor and a sexy, neon-lit restaurant downstairs in the basement.
The basement dining area matches the size of the original Soho site. However, with Lee’s continuous desire to offer a ‘just drinks’ concept somewhere within the Temper chain, she wanted to provide customers more than just the dining experience and so was on the hunt for the perfect premises where a cocktail bar was a separate location to the restaurant, whilst all still being under the same roof. The cocktail bar in its own identity is a wonderful ‘Just drinks ‘destination offering a remarkable assortment of cocktails, that continuously create an adventurous drinks menu. The feel of the bar? Sultry, bachelor pad vibes.
As we were escorted down into the basement dining area, the ethos of the restaurant felt more like an exclusive private members club, than an everyone-welcome venue. With sensual red neon lighting on the walls, minimal spot lighting and the roar of flames coming from the open kitchen, the dining room had a really cosy, intimate vibe to it, despite the actual size of the room being impressively large. Top tip: Ask to be sat at the bar by the kitchen. The kitchen team were super friendly and welcoming and knew they were being watched. Every move they made was eye-catching and quite a performance. From the waiters making the drinks to the chefs cutting up the meat, everything they did was part of their nightly show and boy was it impressive.
Unlike any other meat restaurant, I know Temper buy most of its meat from small farms which they butcher in-house. This means they use fewer cattle per week to serve the same amount of food as a like-for-like restaurant and refuse to use any produce that they feel are mass-produced or has a large environmental impact.
After taking some time to realign the restaurants, it’s easy for customers to know exactly what they’re going to get when visiting any of the sites. Each restaurant has its own twist on the menu, which gives the individual chain its own identity whilst still sticking to Temper’s core concept.
If you’re someone who has a list of baby names on your phone, Temper Shoreditch is your excuse to start a Smokehouse list. Add. To. List. Now.
My Temper Suggestions:
The Bone Collector cocktail is smoked bone-butter infused Elijah Craig, Abbot’s bitters, Rakomelo liqueur and dark sugar – punchy and opens your palette ready for dinner.
During dinner drink:
Momma’s Margarita – Olmeca tequila, lime, agave, temper’s smoked black salt – The most delicious margarita ever tasted. On the strong side so take these easy.
Or, for the spicy lovers: Pepino Picante – Verde mezcal, Empirical Ayuuk, apple agave, lime, cucumber, tabasco – not for the faint-hearted.
Tacos – Goats Cheese/salmon, miso, smoked pineapple / Drunken pig – Warning! All extremely Moorish.
Whole Duck Carnitas – finger-licking good.
ANY of their steaks will hit the spot. Make sure to order Grilled hispi cabbage as a side – chefs kiss* and Aji Amarillo mayo – You’ll want to take some home.
W: Temper Restaurant
A: 78 Great Eastern Street
Written by Amber Lauren for Luxuria Lifestyle London and International