Neil Rankin reinvents his temper restaurant brand once again as a pizza and vermouth offering in Covent Garden. The Soho original specialises in grilled meats while the City outpost gives things an Indian twist.
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“The theatre of the fire pits” (“grab a table at the counter to see your food cooking, and to strike up a conversation with the chefs”) helps inspire fans of the “extraordinary culinary style” of Neil Rankin’s “loud”, “subterranean temple to everything carnivorous” in Soho, which has a spin-off in the City (“in a quiet alley by Bank”) and now also in Covent Garden (where most of the cooking is in a wood-fired oven, and where they also do pizza). The verdict on the food, however, is becoming increasingly mixed – to fans the smoked BBQ fare is “brilliant and creative”, featuring “dishes unlike anywhere else”, but the proportion of sceptics who find the food “bland”, or “over-salted” or “very over-hyped” is growing.
“A place of worship for all carnivores!” – Neil Rankin’s “underground BBQ and fire pit yearling” in Soho “is like a descent into Dante’s dark and confusing world full of smoke” and “if you can sit at the bar, clustered around the firepit, you get the full-on smoke experience” – “a theatrical and fascinating evening leaving you with an understanding of the hard work that goes into flawless carnivorous cooking” (although “you may be smelling it in your clothes for days”). Most of the many reports say that “if you like flesh, it’s a must” – “simply cooked smoked meats; beef, lamb, goat served on a perfectly puffed flatbread or tacos, with a range of exceptional tapas and sides, delivering a truly multi-sensory event, with beautifully complimentary flavours”. Ratings are undercut however, by a disgruntled minority who just don’t ‘get it’: “for me, it just didn’t live up to the hype and the bill really stung!”. In July 2017, branch two opened in the City, in Bank’s Angel Court development, with more Indian/curry influences (rather than Mexican ones, as in Soho).