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Temper Chef Neil Rankin to Replace Thali With Tacos at Big City Restaurant

Chef says the Indian-inspired grill menu hasn’t taken off at lunchtimes

Temper City will soon introduce menu items such as beef fat tacos, which are currently served at the Soho site only
Temper Soho [Official Photo]

Chef-restaurateur Neil Rankin, who runs three restaurants under the Temper brand, has elected to completely change the menu at his site in the City, because of the struggles the business has faced at lunchtimes.

Big Hospitality reported yesterday the chef will introduce a range of tacos, barbecued meats, and tostadas to the menu at the City site, bringing it more in line with the original (Mexican-inspired) outpost of Temper, on Broadwick Street, in Soho.

Rankin told Eater today that, though still in development, the new menu will borrow much of what has been successful at the original Temper site, which in addition to the above, will see new, bigger cuts of steak, and seafood offered to its largely City-working clientele. Big cuts of meat have proved to be a success for the likes of Hawksmoor, Blacklock (both steakhouses), and, more recently, JKS Restaurants’ Brigadiers, in the Bloomberg Arcade.

“The menu itself is still being developed but it will very much be a focus on the core soho menu with the addition of a heavier steak and large cut element and a much wider focus on seafood and fish where we’ll be using an array of new Cornish suppliers,” he said. “The equipment and space at City is such that we think we can take the butchery element to the next level and maybe start supplying other restaurants in the group and even at some point do some off sales.”

When asked why the Thali menu hadn’t worked, he blamed a sluggish lunchtime trade, saying the restaurant was at a scale which wasn’t sustainable when only performing at dinner. “We’re changing because trade has been heavily reliant on evenings which for a five day a week operation in such a large unit is challenging and the opposite to most City restaurants.”

However, it’s a change he’s making with some reluctance: “Customer feedback on food and service has been as good if not slightly better at times than soho but feel that we need a menu that reflects all day dining attitudes in the city and the soho menu is much more flexible in that respect,” he told Eater.

He has also described the offering at Temper City as his “favourite menu” and that he was “as upset as anyone.”

He also suggested that he is considering opening more outposts of the Temper brand, where the current Indian-inspired menu from the City would be better suited. “The plan will be to relocate the Thali menu to a more central site in the future where we are not so reliant on daytime and weekday sales,” he said.

Rankin is the chef-owner of three Temper sites. The third, and most recent one, in Covent Garden, is Italian-inspired, where pizzas and ragus form the backbone of the menu. It opened in May, and has so far received only one — fairly damning — major review.


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