Temper City is nestled in Angel Court, just off Throgmorton Street between Moorgate and Bank. It is the second such restaurant from Neil Rankin. The first still operates very successfully in Soho and the City restaurant opened in July last year. Both are quite dazzling “firepit” restaurants with giant barbecues and grills in the centre of the dining rooms with all the prep and cooking on show and with everything radiating out from that central open kitchen area. The menu is unique in offering flavour combinations seldom seen elsewhere. It might be described as the ultimate fusion restaurant – a mix of western and eastern cuts and flavours.
The City restaurant is part of a new development a stone’s throw from, and almost opposite, the northern end of The Bank of England and oozes grand but industrial warehouse and seats a maximum of 250 in surprisingly informal and cosy configurations.
I think that because the kitchen is a cubed focus in the middle of the vast space, and the dining area around the nucleus are broken up into segments; these smaller zones are more owned by the staff and more personable for the diners.
There is a dining bar-encircling the central kitchen area. We sat on one of the conventional tables but there are also plenty of quirky alcove and booth seating options; in fact, I would have loved to sit at the counter because the grandstand view you can enjoy of the chefs working their magic is hypnotic.
Counter dining – around the central kitchen and firepit
The City restaurant has the additional advantages of a mezzanine which doubles up as a private dining area and there is a small courtyard, which will be great for summer drinking.
What interested us more than usual about this new eatery was the mystery of the menu, much of which we hardly recognised. The odd word or so that we did know was accompanied with a wake-up slap of an adjective. Calm yourself down before you read the next menu item (as an example): “Korean haggis”. I mean, who, what, where, when and my grammar has left me with stunted sentence construction!
So there are lots of Asian inspired dishes to choose from, plus Temper’s steak expertise, and some classic options for the less adventurous.
Don Colada – rum, dangerous don mezcal, coconut cream, pineapple – £12.5
Temper City loves gin so there is a whole menu of gins to choose from along with cocktails and wine. ‘Gin o’clock’ runs from 5pm – 7:30pm on week days with very happy hour prices; house wine at £3.50 a glass is enough reason alone to check out the bar. I also love their water policy: ‘charity water’ is filtered still or sparkling water charged at £1 per guest where half of the proceeds go to the one foundation charity. I wasn’t going to stick to water, though, when I’d noticed a rather yummy looking colada on someone’s table walking through on the way to sit down. I found it on the menu: Don Colada; all the joy of a Pina Colada with the hit of rich Mezcal in a very wide and very long glass.
My partner selected the Cheapside Date, hopefully no reflection on his dining companion!, which was a delicious citrusy gin concoction followed by a glass of rioja to wash the meal down.
The wine list was quite extensive and although not listed on the website, is priced averagely for the City with bottles from £25 up. There is a concentration on New World wines, particularly from South America, although there’s a good selection of old world wines too, with a few available by the glass from around £6
We trusted the waitress for a choice or starters and she brought us crab beignet and aged beef mince & tatties. My dining partner had tried the squid and samphire pakora and the mutton roll on a previous visit both of which he thought were great – and both almost large enough for a main course.
Crab beignet £6
The crab was a small portion but the lightly battered, crispy morsels were perfect for a starter. We shared and the cooling mild crab dish was an ideal complement to the spicy beef dish.
We weren’t expecting the structure of the minced beef & tatties which arrived; the tatties were shredded crispy whisps and it was more practical to tip out the cottage-pie type dish onto a small plate to share. It was plenty big enough for two to share so a bit of a bargain! The minced beef was fairly spicy too as seem to be the case with most dishes on Temper’s menu.
Aged beef mince & tatties £5
Starters: mutton roll £9.50; MSG salt & pepper crab £11; squid & samphire pakora £8; crab beignet £6; korean haggis £6.50; burrata, lime & jalapeﬁo £7.50; octopus, dahl, chipotle & black vinegar £10; aged beef mince & tatties £5
For the main course, I selected the kimchi lamb skewers which were melt-in-the-mouth delicious atop a rich, slightly salty and moderately spicy sauce that I could have licked off the plate were I not being politely civilised. Coupled with a side of fresh, firm broccoli, I was a happy chappy.
Kimchi lamb skewers £15 & Grilled purple sprouting broccoli £5
My dining partner chose the Cullen skink, a rich, thick smoked haddock soup. This dish was one of the options that you could choose on its own or served as a Thali plate with paratha, temper mix, spiced fried potatoes, turmeric pickes, yoghurt and tamarind sauce, peshwari dust and fresh herbs. The Thali option turns a bowl into a plate of spicy taste bud sensations which you can roll into a roti roll if you fancy or spoon, knife and fork your way through the adventure.
As a result of the wide choice of portion sizes, I would opt for perhaps one Thali dish and then a smattering of smaller potions for the table to share. The magic of this menu is the mix of flavours and I would go all out for anything I didn’t recognise to open as many taste bud doors as I could! However, if you have a craving for steak, then Temper is a specialist with all the experience of their Soho restaurant where they serve by weight. At both restaurants the meat is butchered in-house, although not from the original animal.
Malaysian spiced cullen skink Thali (aromatic, wet & hearty) £13
I don’t know if you have ever read about or seen videos of the Wagah border ceremony drill which is characterized by elaborate and rapid dancelike manoeuvres between the security forces of India and Pakistan. It popped into my mind as I was tucking into the food here; gentle smooth flavours interspersed with slaps of rich and intense spices like riding a rocking lingual rollercoaster! The dishes look innocent enough, but they can definitely pack a punch!
Mains: curry/thali plates – all thali plates come with paratha, temper mix, spiced fried potatoes, turmeric pickles, yoghurt & tamarind sauce, peshwari dust and fresh herbs: tomato & charred aubergine (smokey, mild & aromatic) £6.50 / £11.50; dashi chip shop chicken (umami, rich & spiced) £7 / £12; crispy egg with katsu (mild, umami & rich) £7 / £12; Malaysian spiced cullen skink (aromatic, wet & hearty) £8 / £13; lamb scotch bonnet & black pepper stew (hot, wet & spiced) £11 / £16; dry goat (dry, sweet aromatic) £12 / £17
from the grill: spiced green curry mussels £11; pork rib, xo glaze £12; kimchi lamb skewers £15; spiced green curry grilled fish £15; smoked beef rib, black pepper sauce £18.50; tandoor spiced red curry chicken £18 (half)
In-house butchered steaks: 300gm rump, kimchi yoghurt – Hereford, Essex £10.50; 250gm/500gm sirloin, kimchi yoghurt – Hereford, Essex £15 / £30; 500gm rib-eye, kimchi yoghurt – Hereford, Essex £36
sides & extras: paratha £1.50; fries, curry sauce £3; iceberg, cumin chickpeas, preserved lemon dressing £3; potato, coconut, chilli & tamarind £4.50; grilled purple sprouting broccoli £5; black quinoa & roasted beetroot £5.50
As can be seen from the above dishes the choice is definitely unusual on the London restaurant scene and all the better for that.
If there is anything which is limited on the menu, it is the selection of desserts, but there is still enough to satiate the sweet tooth. I chose the chocolate and turmeric torte served with pistachio ice cream which I would definitely choose again.
Chocolate and turmeric torte
My partner chose the Bananaramadrama which was textured banana ice-cream and banana fritters with cubes of warm, cinnamon-crusted banana bread. Although deliciously banana, we both agreed that my dessert was better so it was achingly painful for me to share my last spoonful; I hope he was grateful!
This is a convenient location but slightly tucked away. I hope the word of mouth goes out that a visit is well worthwhile. With a Quiz afternoon on selected Saturdays where you can tuck into a 3 course meal with unlimited drinks for £39, it is a tempting destination for residents who live full time on the Estate. I also think that while they are making their mark, they will have other offers on, which we’ll keep an eye on and post to the website and twitter!
Temper City: 2 Angel Court, 30 Throgmorton Street, London EC2R 7HJ; email@example.com; 0203 004 6984 (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm); Monday – Friday 12noon-1am*; Saturday 1pm-10pm; Sunday Closed. And not forgetting Happy Hour Monday – Friday 3pm-7.30pm