On Sunday 14 January, the original Smoking Goat on Denmark Street, near Soho, will close its doors “to allow for the area’s redevelopment” and because “they’re carrying out works on the building” a statement released by the restaurant says this morning.
Ben Chapman’s debut, a laid-back bar and restaurant, opened on a ‘shoestring’ budget in 2014 — it was one of a number of so-called ‘Nu-Thai’ restaurants that have opened in the past three years — som saa and Farang were all born out of a new obsession with the cuisine; a number of chefs came from the Begging Bowl in Peckham. The cult restaurant on London’s musical ‘tin pan alley’ served its own “interpretation of Thai barbecue dishes.” It paved the way for Chapman’s two successful follow-up restaurants, Kiln and Smoking Goat in Shoreditch.
As Eater London reported back in July, when news of the second Goat broke, Chapman had said the lease was up on the Denmark Street site but that it would not close any time soon. But because it would not be open forever, new premises were sought. Before Christmas Chapman had said that the Denmark Street site looked as if it might not be closing at all. But things change fast in London’s property market, especially in and around Soho where Crossrail is causing major disruption.
Chapman said in a statement: “We’ve had an unforgettable three years on Denmark Street and that’s largely down to a brilliant team who’ve flourished and become co-owners, and our incredibly loyal crowd of regulars. I know of no other place where people regularly eat dinner, leave, and then come back in the same night.”
“Denmark Street is undergoing some exciting changes and the developers have been hugely supportive to allow us to continue service amongst it all, but it’s now time to leave them to crack on. The fun will continue at Smoking Goat Shoreditch and we’re not saying goodbye permanently to a pocket of London we’re so fond of — we hope to be back in the future,” said Chapman’s co-founder, Brian Hannon.
Chapman, who did not have any formal restaurant or chef training, has built his mini restaurant empire carefully, working with British butchers to receive whole animal rare breed meats and day boat fish, and specifically Cornish producers to grow native Thai herbs and vegetables.
Ahead the closure, the Smoking Goat team led by general manager, Kylie Kerslake, Tom Muza and Stuart Smith will line up a series called the ‘Last Days of the Goat’ where dinners will include free plates of the famous fish sauce wings for every table and menus featuring memorable dishes of hang lae curried pork rib, fish head curry and khao soi smoked goat, naturally.