On the evening of Monday 26 March, Kiln will welcome both chefs from som saa and sommeliers from Eater’s restaurant of the year P. Franco to transform into a standing-room-only Larb Bar. Guests will pay £45 on the door, there’s only one type of dish, it’s all-you-can-eat, there’ll be natural wine, and there’ll be no bookings. There will be queues. In other words: a paradigm of the London restaurant industry in 2018.
For the evening, Kiln will remove all of the bar stools from the restaurant in an effort to “create a bustling, market-style atmosphere inside, for an evening devoted to the regional Thai favourite.”
Behind the counter of the open kitchen, Kiln founder Ben Chapman will join head chef Nick Molyviatis as well as som saa co-founder Andy Oliver. Guests will be urged to call a chef to order their next dish — a menu made up only of larbs.
What is larb?
Traditionally, a combination of chopped meat or fish, with aromatic herbs and chilli, seasoned with fish sauce and citrus juice. It can either be an earthy and sour specialty from eastern Thailand, or a rich and aromatic dish in the northern borderlands. It is also considered the unofficial national dish of Laos and is sometimes called laap, larp, lahp, lahb, or laab.
The menu at Kiln will include the following: Northern style duck and offal; raw beef laab; fried laab cakes; game; blood; and Isaan style chopped sand sole.
Pouring the wines that evening will be Phil Bracey, the general manager of P. Franco, who doesn’t deny that matching to such spicy dishes is going to present some challenges: “While our love for natural wines may be obvious, our love for Thai food also runs deep,” he said. “The spice, the freshness, the intensity and the layered flavours really appeal to us, and we’re excited to try and match these two loves.
“Part of the excitement is that these wines will be drunk in a convivial setting that allows people to discuss what they’re drinking, mirrored in Kiln’s own approach to food.”
Ben Chapman said about the collaboration: “I love the informal nature but incredible quality of what the team at P. Franco in Clapton are doing, and I wanted to bring some of the same vibe to lesser-known, simple Thai dishes.
“I’m looking forward to the fun of inviting some friends into the kitchen, and hosting what is essentially a one-dish lock-in. We’re hopeful that the evening will be the first of many Larb Bar nights.”
P. Franco has also said that it plans to do more collaborations and events outside of the restaurant (which is only open for dinner Thursday and Friday and all day at weekends) in Clapton.
The Larb Bar will takeover Kiln on Monday 26 March from 6pm. Walk-ins and standing room only. Tickets are £45 on the door and include as much larb as you like, plus three glasses of wine and service. (Additional wines from P. Franco will be available by the glass or bottle on the night.)