Neil Rankin’s Temper is a buzzy place. If atmosphere is paramount on your list of restaurant criteria you won’t be disappointed. Take a seat at the counter and become part of the action, especially when the coals decide to blow their molten embers your way.
A mashup of meat with Latin and Asian flavours, Temper delivers on most fronts. Their cocktails are inventive and are some of the nicest drinks we’ve had recently. Neil’s Negroni is made with a mezcal base instead of the classic gin and it is full of flavour and punch, but retains balance, something that often lacks when drinks are “punchy”. I opt for the Capertif and tonic – Capertifi being a herbal drink with a gorgeous bitterness.
The cheeseburger taco catches my eye… It is exactly what you think, and it is delicious.The crab taco, which is brimming with fresh, vibrant ingredients (you can tell thy are high quality) unfortunately lacks body and flavour and leaves us a little cold.
When hunks of flesh and burning coals are involved, my Partner in Crime and I are usually loitering close by. Lamb, beef and goat arrive on flatbreads. Again, the quality and preparation of these meats is great, but I just think a little sprinkling of salt wouldn’t go awry.
The dish of the evening is the Burnt Ends with Larb; a spicy and perfectly balanced explosion of flavour. Traditionally a dish from Laos, larb is a meat salad that uses the burnt ends brilliantly with a medley of coriander, chilli and mint. Another stand out dish is the Smashed Cucumbers – a pickled sensation which refreshes the palate incredibly well between mouthfuls of fatty, juicy flesh.
Two dishes which disappointed were the Ogleshield potatoes (think potatoes with a clock of melted cheese atop, but sadly they lacked seasoning) and the corn, which is described on the menu as corn with mint and lamb fat. I imagined flame-grilled corn on the cob, bathed in lamb fat and garnished with torn mint (much like the corn that Ms G’s used to serve). Instead what arrives is a small dish of mostly popcorn. I love popcorn, but not for my dinner and this dish simply doesn’t work.
Service was friendly and fast – we like fast. It is always such a chore to wait for food when you’re super hungry.
Although Temper has some knockout dishes, if you order the wrong things you could walk away feeling underwhelmed. Now armed with the knowledge of the menu, we can assure that our next visit to Temper is packed with all the dishes we loved, because seriously those burn ends… Swoon-worthy!