A few months ago my husband read a review of this restaurant in the Evening Standard (LINK) and mentioned it would be nice to try it. A Thai grill restaurant created with the intention to focus the attention on to the cooking as much as the eating sounded like a great proposal and we decided to make time to taste it.
Months went by and we were caught up in our short list of regulars to only remember Kiln when we walked passed it (generally after we already ate).
Yesterday, however, we did remember and decided to venture to the restaurant at 2pm.
- The first thing worth noting is that we were extremely lucky because the kitchen closes at 2:30 on Saturdays.
- The second one was that this restaurant has some of the friendliest atmospheres we have experienced in a long time. (I dare say it reminds me of my home town)
The interior is well thought out (as an architect I cannot avoid noticing) and with its limited pallet of materials, transmits a welcoming feeling from the moment you cross the threshold. Although there are tables in the basement (3, I seem to remember), there is no better place to sit than the counter upstairs from which you can enjoy an overview of the action on the kilns.
The first mouthful we tasted was the cumin lamb skewer. Simply cooked and using lamb’s fat in the cooking, the meat was fresh and the taste delicious.
For both of us, however, the start of the meal was the mackerel with dry red curry. Served with delicious (non-spicy) chillies, it was packed with flavour.
Mackerel is one of our favourite fishes (you can say fishes when it comes to multiple species … in case you wondered). It is meaty and works as well with sweet as it does with savoury flavours. This combination at Kiln is a delight.
The restaurant was full at the time with regulars rushing in before the kitchen closed.
We noticed that many seemed to have ordered a glazed noodles pot which smelled and looked delicious. Unfortunately, we only decided to taste it as the fire was being stopped. (Next time, we promised ourselves)
We ordered some Laos style pollock too. I must clarify I never read the ES review, and so I failed to realise that despite its harmless appearance, it is extremely hot. Luckily for me this is not a problem but
Luckily for me this is not a problem but I would advise anyone visiting to discuss the levels of heat before they order to avoid surprises.
The waitress, who was really helpful and friendly, recommended we tried the Isaan Style Mushroom Salad. Despite being well cooked and good, this would not have been something I would look forward to repeating in the future for it lacked the level of surprise the other dishes had to offer.
Another speciality of the restaurant, as well as the noodles pot, was the Whole Salt Baked Sea Bream which we decided to order.
The salt crust, which when it is thick creates a layer preventing the flesh from drying, was too thin and as a result, the flesh was much too dry. Adding the lime dressing on the side dish made it better but it was a pity.
We also ordered some brown rice which is one of my favourites. It did not disappoint for it was full of flavour.
Overall, we really enjoyed the restaurant and will return for a few other dishes we could not taste this time soon. As London grows and large corporations keep taking over small units, one can only admire small independents such as these for offering such a great unpretentious escape.
I want to mention, because it made the experience even more enjoyable, that I cannot even remember when was the last time I sat at a restaurant while I listened to good music being played on vinyl. I am hardly surprised that so many people are reverting to vinyl because the sound is beautifully evocative.
I am hardly surprised that so many people are reverting to vinyl because the sound is beautifully evocative and has de ability to bring you back in time.
Kiln’s vinyl collection, though not extensive, is very cleverly selected to appeal both those of us who enjoyed going out in our twenties (back in the 90s) and those who are going out now.
These are three albums I will definitely listen to again:
Take it from the man 1996, by The brian Jonestown massacre
Its sound reminded me of my Architecture student years back in San Sebastian, going out over the weekend with my best friend Amaya. (I am certain that I must have heard it then at the Iguana or the Sariketa.)
Senegal 70: sonic gems previously unreleased recordings from the 70s
I love the sound of Senegalese music. From Youssou N’Dour to the mixture of traditional sounds with Cuban influences … the result is always a very unique and recognisable sound.
Observer all stars and king Tubby’s
Again, a Jamaican sound we could have easily listened to back in San Sebastian on a night out.
Photography (Taken with my phone) and text by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
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