We all know that sequels are rarely as good as the original. It’s true for movies, and it’s even true for restaurants. But it is possible for a follow up to outshine the first, and that’s certainly true for Temper City, the sequel to the Soho location.
Though it didn’t open too long ago, the first Temper in Soho is already something of a cult restaurant. It’s a unique place with an open-fire barbecue in the middle of what’s otherwise a smart-looking brasserie, and it’s one of the spots you’d go to if you wanted to eat a lot of red meat, drink irresponsibly, and generally do some real damage to your body. At Temper City, the food’s even more exciting, the music’s even louder, and any reservations we had about the Soho location have been taken care of.
While the original focuses on tacos and you can find a loose Mexican influence throughout, at Temper City, curry is the starting point. That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to order a tikka masala - ‘curry’ here just means anything from a green masala-spiced fish, to a Caribbean lamb and scotch bonnet stew that’ll make every neuron in your face light up like a pinball machine. While you’ll eat tortillas with your food at the original establishment, at Temper City, your rip and dip weapon is a paratha. And though the mains are good, the starters are even better - there’s a spicy Korean ‘haggis’ that’s spooned into lettuce leaves ssam-style, and a crunchy samphire and squid pakora that you’ll want to split between a few friends.
Speaking of sharing, a meal at Temper City works best if you show up with a group and order as many plates as you can muster. And feel free to roll deep here, because the space is very large - a big improvement over the basement space of the original. As well as being a more natural setting for barbecue, it’s a lot more comfortable than the Soho restaurant. By the time you’re onto your third G&T and the chorus for ‘Africa’ comes blasting over the speakers, you’ll be feeling pretty damn fine.
So can a sequel be better? If Temper City is anything to go by, then the answer’s yes. Even on its own merit, a meal here is one of the most exciting you can have in town, and that it exists in the soulless Square Mile automatically makes it one of the best options in the area. Trilogies are a risky business, so we won’t hold our breath for a third location, but it’s always a possibility.
Like a yak in a negligee, this tangled mass of deep-fried samphire and cephalopod is both ugly and beautiful, and tastes fantastic. Get it to share, but sneak extra forkfuls when no one’s looking.
We don’t know exactly what makes this a ‘haggis’, but essentially it’s a spicy Korean tartare you spoon onto lettuce and eat like a taco. The flavours of the ‘haggis’ really pop, and balance nicely with the crunchy veg.
Another must-order. There’s a perfect balance of fat and meat on each skewer, and the kimchi sauce isn’t shy. Though it’ll be bit pricey, aim for one skewer each - it’s a small price to pay to stop your friends stabbing each other with sharp metal things.
Each of the main dishes comes on an Indian-style thali plate with a paratha, pickles, and sauces. You’ll need that bread to mop up the gravy in this phenomenal stew.
The crispy egg’s tasty, but here it’s all about the sauce. Ask for some extra bread.
A fragrant dish of goat that’s a little bit sweet, and which tastes even better when you fold it between a paratha and douse the whole thing with chillies and yoghurt.
A good fish plate, and one we endorse if you like eating things that come from the sea. At least one person at your table should be half-competent with a knife though, as you’ll need to fillet it yourself.