When Kiln Soho opened last year, everything about it excited me: Northern Thai food, cooked entirely over fire in front of your eyes and relaxed bar seating – two of my favourite things.
So, when we rocked up at 7pm on a Saturday night, we were more than willing to wait our turn, and wait we did. Instead of hanging about, we pottered off into the depths of Soho, where we enjoyed several exorbitantly priced but marvellous cocktails (in The Den @ 100 Wardour Street). When our spot at the bar was ready, we received a text from Kiln informing us that our spot at the bar was ready, which was lucky for my wallet as our drinks tab was starting to make me nervous!
One of my favourite dishes was the chicken – the finest I’d eaten all year, with its crispy skin and a juicy thigh with all the barbecue char of summer. I also loved the dinky lamb skewers dusted with Sichuan pepper, cumin and a hefty amount of salt.
Next up was the langoustines ceviche, which epitomised the taste of Thailand – heady chilli, zesty lime juice and fragrant sweet mint. We also devoured the rich and unctuous brown crab meat and the pork belly and glass noodle claypot.
We rounded all of this off with a ridiculously moreish Southern-style dry, minced pork curry spiked with heat and providing a huge hit of umami. We also had a rich, short rib Burmese curry, which according to my partner, was the best dish he’s ever eaten.
The chefs here all cook with mesmerising skill. Within the restaurant, there’s a gorgeous hum, and a sense of the here and now, which helps keep you present, focusing on the food and the atmosphere.
The cooking station is covered with burnt embers and ash and is laden with precariously balanced claypots that have seen better days alongside ready and waiting red-hot woks. We watched as mussels were scorched momentarily over naked flames until they opened to provide them with a smoky flavour.
Despite the chaos, there is a surprising calm, and the presentation of the food is sophisticated. All the dishes we enjoyed were beautiful, intriguing, feisty morsels that I simply couldn’t get enough of. Quite simply, it’s a place that brings me so much joy it makes me happy to be alive.
58 Brewer Street
London’s been having a love-in with Peruvian cuisine in the last few years and it’s easy to see why - fresh ingredients, simple, fuss-free, delicious dishes punctuated with punchy fresh flavours; what’s not to love? Soho’s Señor Ceviche is inspired by the founder's travels around Peru, showcasing the diverse flavours and cooking techniques from street food snacks and super fresh ceviches to Peruvian barbecue and healthy salads.
Just stepping across the threshold brings on major holiday envy; it’s got a bit of a street food shack vibe about it, all bright colours, exposed wood, simple furniture, a mish mash of quirky prints and paintings on the walls. I haven’t been to Peru but I imagine it’s a fairly genuine representation of how they'd do things in Lima. It may have opened a couple of years ago, but it’s still packing in the punters. A recent visit on a sunny Tuesday evening saw the windows thrown open to the buzzing throng of Kingly Court and a queue out the door. It’s the perfect setting for eking out those last hazy days of an Indian summer (I’m sure we still have a few to come…).
Don’t think about ordering anything until you’ve had a Pisco Sour, the dream accompaniment to Señor Ceviche’s spectacular menu, though admittedly the Yapa Sandia, with papaya and mango infused Macchu Pisco, lime juice and watermelon was also pretty darn good…
Think simple, fresh, fuss-free, flavours that pack a punch. The menu focuses on key dishes split into para picar (snacks), ceviche and tiradito, Peruvian barbecue, sides & salads and desserts. There may only be 23 items on the whole menu but it's guaranteed you’ll want to come back time and again to try them all.
We hit up the chicharrone de calamar, crispy baby squid with pickled jalapeño mayo, followed by the ‘Clasíco’ ceviche - seam bream with ahi limo tiger’s milk, sweet potato puree, chock corn, red onion, coriander and plantain - alongside the signature ‘Señor Ceviche’ with octopus; both of which could have been four times the size and we still would have eaten the lot.
It would have been rude not to indulge in the BBQ, so out came theft iron y uchucuta;, papaya marinated flat iron steak with uchucuta sauce, though I’m definitely going back to try the nikkei pulp Kombu grilled octopus with nikkei chimichurri and the pachamanca pork ribs - both looked divine. A side salad of tofu, black and white quinoa, edamame and grilled sweetcorn was (somewhat surprisingly for a vegan dish) absolutely delicious - we couldn’t get enough.
A delicious antidote to five-star dining, Señor Ceviche is definitely one for a fast, fun meal with friends - I’ve already booked to go back twice since I visited a few weeks back! If you can’t make it to Lima, make the most of the fact that Lima’s been brought to London.
Our experience overall
Food and drink *****
Staff attentiveness/friendliness *****
Restaurants, Bars and food/drink pop ups and reviews
There's nothing more delicious in life than indulging in a sensational meal.