I’m going to keep this one short & sweet. Or rather, short & smokey.

Because you’ll see, there’s not much to say about Temper, except for the fact that it’s grill-iant.

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

Not that it should come as a surprise.

The first restaurant of London BBQ-master Neil Rankin (of the Pitt Cue & Smokehouse fame), this place has some seriously good breeding.

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

The settings are quite simple (though they do look fancy): 180 seats, arranged around a central open fire pit, where everything is cooked using only wood and charcoal.

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

Ask for a seat at the counter, where you’ll be able to watch the chefs work their magic…

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

…and indulge in a bit of plate-spotting while you wait!

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

Though a couple of the cocktails (On the Nose & Sage Advice) will also do the trick, if you’re not as nosy as I am!

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + WhiskyTemper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

Best enjoyed with a side of Scotch bonnet chilli -a shredded meat concoction, hidden under a blanket of melted cheese, red onion & fire-y green chilli that”ll put any con carne experiment of yours to shame.

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

Though the menu also features tacos & Cornish seafood bits, we went for a feast of what Temper’s been acclaimed for -Meat,  with the sort of punchy, international flavours Rankin’s famous for.

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

There’s beef, lamb and goat.

All butchered in house, grilled whole and served atop juice-drenched home-made flatbread.

All absolutely phenomenal.

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

Red curry beef skewer.

Spicy & zingy, and the perfect barbecue translation of the Thai classic.

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

Burnt end Thai larb.

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

A delightful, clever nose-to-tail approach to my beloved Lao meat salad.

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

Burrata, lime & jalapeño – an instant summer favourite!

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

Smacked cucumber -the perfect barbecue side, if you ask me.

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

All in all the perfect tear n’ share barbecue feast!

After that, puddings are not quite necessary but absolutely compulsory.

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

The butterscotch Kouign-Amann with dulce de leche ice cream is caramel inception in the best possible way.

Crispy, butter-and-sugar-enriched, caramelised puff pastry, topped with a silky caramel sauce, and then some caramel ice cream for good measure.

The dream.

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

But then, there’s the dessert to end all desserts. The ultimate indulgence.

Temper’s chocolate cookie with fior di latte ice cream.

Just baked, soooooo goeyand absolutely irresistible.

Temper • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

Take any meat lover with a sweet tooth – it’ll take their breath away!

Temper, 25 Broadwick Street, London W1F 0DF


Smokestak Barbecue, London

Much like this famous restaurant critic, I thought I was done with barbecue. Thought I had seen it all, tasted it all and that there wasn’t much point in having to deal with smoke-scented coats and sweaters if the only thing I got for all that hard work was dry meat the texture of cotton-wool covered in ridiculous amounts of overly sweet barbecue sauce.

And then Smokestak came along and convinced me that maybe, there were times when smoke-scented winter coats were worth it.

Smokestak Barbecue, London | Cake + Whisky

The decor alone makes it clear that this is not your average ‘Murica-inspired diner. No red leather booth, no US flags, no ketchup and mustard in squeezy bottles. Instead, plenty of grey shades, dark wood, unpolished metal and leather details. Industrial, stylish, to the point.

The menu goes in the same direction: no pulled pork, a few true-to-their-roots classics, and plenty of twisted ones, all cooked with incredible attention to detail.

Smokestak Barbecue, London | Cake + WhiskySmokestak Barbecue, London | Cake + Whisky

Unsurprisingly, the brisket bun (a butter-brushed soft bun pilled high with super soft meat and pickled chilli) is an absolute dream.

Smokestak Barbecue, London | Cake + Whisky Smokestak Barbecue, London | Cake + Whisky Smokestak Barbecue, London | Cake + Whisky

So are the thick-cut pork ribs. Rich, fall-off-the-bone meat, finger-licking good sticky glaze, punchy cucumber pickles, textbook barbecue perfection.

Smokestak Barbecue, London | Cake + Whisky Smokestak Barbecue, London | Cake + Whisky

Somewhat gruesome-sounding pigtails turns out to be little morcels of crackling-like sticky joy. An instant favourite.

And unlike many other barbecue restaurants, where anything that’s not meat is hardly ever worth ordering, side dishes at Smokestak are as stellar as the main bits.

Smokestak Barbecue, London | Cake + Whisky

Try the Celery, fennel, almond slaw, with delicate notes of preserved lemon and cumin. It’s fresh and light, crunchy and surprisingly moreish.

Smokestak Barbecue, London | Cake + Whisky

Order the Smoky rarebit jacket potato. Not doing so would be a mis-steak.

Blackened, crispy skin spud, scooped out, pimped with plenty of cheesy, ale-y rarebit mix, then re-stuffed, and quickly popped under the grill to emerge in all its golden, cheesy beauty.

But then again, there are many other things to love about Smokestak. The strong, perfectly mixed cocktails. The paper-thin, delicated slices of bacon-like cured pigs jowl… Not to mention what’s possibly the best sticky toffee pudding in the whole of London.

Because when it comes to great barbecue, Smokestak doesn’t just meat expectation but exceeds them from start to finish. It makes decisions very, very hard to make and pretty much garantees you’ll leave very, very full indeed.

Smokestak Barbecue, London | Cake + Whisky Smokestak Barbecue, London | Cake + Whisky

Good thing the little Shoreditch pocket Smokestak is located in is a nice place to go for a walk afterwards… Everyone knows that ace street art and a therapeutic dose of thrift shopping is the best way to fight off the meat sweats!

Smokestak35 Sclater St, London E1 6LB
Smokestak Barbecue, London

Bodean’s BBQ, Muswell Hill

American BBQ isn’t quite the thing new year’s resolution are made of.

Unless of course, you find yourself in North London, happen to climb from the bottom to the top of Muswell Hill, with a couple of healthy sales-oriented pitstops inbetween…

Bodean's, Muswell Hill, London

Then you’ll have worked up a hearty appetite, that will make a feast of all things porky and smoky absolutely appropriate.

In that case, Bodean’s new venue is the place to go.

Bodean's, Muswell Hill, London Bodean's, Muswell Hill, London

As the cowboy-chic atmosphere would let you believe, this place’s all about the meat.

Melt-in-the-mouth pulled pork, fall-off-the-bone ribs, super-moist & smoky chicken … but I’m getting ahead of myself!

Bodean's, Muswell Hill, London

First things first.

Which at Bodean’s means mountains of crispy nachos, still hot from the oven and crowned with all the trimmings.

Melted cheese, tip-top guac’, chuncky salsa, cooling sour cream… the works!

Bodean's, Muswell Hill, London

And a couple of obligatory, cherry-on-top, Yank-approved whisky sours!

The perfect combination while you wait for the more substancial plates to hit the table!

Bodean's, Muswell Hill, LondonBodean's, Muswell Hill, London

Plump, spicy prawns. Succulent & satisfying, yet light and vibrant.

An absolute (prawn) star of a dish!

Bodean's, Muswell Hill, London

Followed by (quite literally) ALL THE MEAT by the means of a shared Bodean’s Platter.

Bodean's, Muswell Hill, London

Baby back ribs, giant spare rib, smoked chicken smothered in BBQ sauce, burnt ends… it’s all there and it’s all good!

Bodean's, Muswell Hill, London

Make sure you get a bit more of the pulled pork that you’re entitled to though.

I mean, I know you’re meant to be polite and let everyone get a bit of everything and stuff, but trust me on that, that baby’s worth loosing a couple of friends over. #terriblefriend #Iregretnothing

You will get a chance to get some brownie points by sharing dessert anyways.

Bodean's, Muswell Hill, London

There’s a few US-faves to choose from, but you might want to push for the pecan pie…

A crumbly-based, gooey-caramelised wonder, so definitely one to go nuts over!

Bodean's, Muswell Hill, London

So if you ever find yourself hungry in North London, you know where to go.

Be it for a casual meat-ing or a long overdue ketchup, a visit to Bodean’s will never be a miss-steak!

They have quite a lot of room so booking aren’t compulsory, but if you’d rather be sure, you can book ahead here.


Bodean’s BBQ, 348 Muswell Hill Broadway, Muswell Hill, London, N10

Bodean’s BBQ, Muswell Hill

20 great recipes for a Summer Potluck

Summer is the perfect season to organise a potluck party.

If everyone makes a dish, it’s easier for everybody, right?

Well, it is. Up until the point when you have to decide what you’ll bring!

…and if you need a little help with that, the list below is just what you’ve been looking for!

Whether you said you’ll bring dessert or salad, and no matter what your cooking level is, there is something for everybody!


1. Guacamole


picture source

Everybody loves the guy/gal that brings guacamole. Simple as that.

And I won’t even make you the offence of linking to a recipe because nobody needs one.

What you do need is ripe avocadoes, loads of lemon juice, salt, pepper, Tabasco and everything else you might want to add.

2. Pimped-up hummus

How to make supermarket hummus amazing | Cake + Whisky

You better practice your most mysterious smile because everybody’s gonna ask what you put in your hummus to make it taste that good (I won’t tell if you don’t).

Get the magic tips here. Want to take it a step further and make your own? Get the recipe here.

3. Tzatziki

Light tzatziki recipe from Rachel Phipps'

This lighter version of the classic Greek tzatziki is ready in minute and the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats… And also delightful scooped up with soft, light pitta bread!

Get the recipe here.

4. Crispy bacon wrapped prunes

Prunes in crispy bacon from Epicurious

Sweet, salty and sticky all in one bite. If that’s not snack-fection, I don’t know what is.

Get the recipe here.

5. Radishes in soil à la Noma

Radishes in soil à la Noma from Chocolate & Zucchini

For those times when your usual crudité platter simply won’t cut it and you need to take it up a notch.

Get the recipe here.

6. BLT salad

BLT Salad from The Londoner

Ditch the bread & keep all the BLT goodies to turn the classic lunchtime sandwich into the best barbecue side there ever was.

Get the recipe here.

7. Tomato & feta crumble

Tomato Feta Crumble 13

Tomato crumble is a Summer supper game changer; the intense flavor of roasted tomatoes, combined with the slight sourness of feta and topped with a deliciously cheesy crumb-topping is simply impossible to resist.

Get the recipe here.

8. Hoisin watermelon salad

Gizzi Erskine's Watermelon and hoisin salad

I am yet to try the duck part of this Gizzi Erskine recipe but watermelon being one of my favourite fruit, the salad has become a firm favourite and I make it any time I have an opportunity. Refreshing and satisfying, it’s a bit of a wild card that’ll be perfect to surprise your foodie friends.

Get the recipe here

9. Potatoes in foil with cheat’s tartare


picture source

Particularly appropriate for a BBQ get-together. Simply parboil the potatoes until just about tender, then wrap each one in aluminium foil and throw in/on the barbie together with the meat to reheat.

Cheat’s tartare is the perfect (and lazy!) accompaniment for it.

Get the recipe here

10. Tomato & pomegranate molasse salad

Sabrina Ghayour's Tomato & Pomegranate molasse salad


My favourite recipe from Queen of Persian cooking Sabrina Ghayour’s debut cookbook, Persiana. It only takes minutes to put together but packs in loads of flavours and everyone I’ve ever made it for LOVED it.

Get the recipe here

11. Bacon potato salad

Summer potato and bacon salad | Cake + Whisky

You can’t beat a classic, but you sure can improve it (with bacon. Bacon improves everything.)

Get the recipe here.

12. Very Greek halloumi/chicken

Greek Caprese salad 8

Marinate your protein of choice in this fresh, vibrant marinade packed-full of Greek goodness before throwing it all on the BBQ for an instant Mamma Mia effect!

Get the recipe here.

13. Tomato & tapenade tart

Provencale Tomato and Tapenade Tarte Fine | Cake + Whisky

Get the recipe here.

14. Cheese plate & fresh bread 

A handy guide to the perfect cheese plate from A Cup of Jo

Cheese and fresh bread are right up there on the list of things any host LOVE their guests to bring to a potluck party. An especially brilliant news if you’re not quite so comfortable behind a stove, have no time on the day or are simply obsessed with cheese! Don’t have the first clue about cheese? Here‘s a handy guide!

15. Whole baked camembert

Baked Camembert recipe from Binny's Kitchen

Add a chilled glass of white wine of the side and there you have it: the ultimate indulgence!

Get the recipe here.

16. The world best brownies


The name says it all. #WorldBestBrownies

Get the recipe here.

17. Mojito ice lollies

Mojito ice lolly from The Ice Kitchen

Fresh, zingy, refreshing and the very best way to sneak more mojitos into your diet!

Get the recipe (from ice lollies mastermind Ice Kitchen) here.

18. Chocolate mousse

Salted Chocolate Mousse Recipe | Cake + Whisky

Unlimited chocolate mousse? Count me in! #thedream

Get then ultimate recipe here or make a fancy marbled version (recipe here)

19. Lemon & poppy seed cake

Lemon and Poppy Seed cake | Cake + Whisky

We all have that one friend who doesn’t like chocolate…

Get the recipe here.

20. A big batch cocktail

Raspberry Wine Spritzer | Cake + Whisky

Because a party with good food is good, but one with good food AND drinks is better.

Many cocktails are easy to make big batches of… but this Raspberry Wine Spritzer is the prettiest of them all!

What’s your go-to recipe for a potluck? Any of the ones above you want to try next time?


20 great recipes for a Summer Potluck