Review: Temper City, Bank

in Restaurants by

You reviewed us on our soft launch with a 50% discount ? You massive, massive prick. The point of a soft launch is to iron out problems, hence the discount. Please go fuck yourself you unprofessional tosser.

Update: Temper’s owner disagreed with our review, and had the above to say. I stand by the review, and think it’s clear that the price/portion offering is not affected by the fact that it was a soft launch. As I said, if the dishes were significantly larger, or significantly cheaper, I would recommend the place. You can decide for yourself.

My dinner at the original Temper, in Soho, was probably my favourite meal of 2016—and I told founder Neil Rankin as much over the bar as he went about chopping and smoking large bits of goat in the restaurant’s shiny and beautiful central kitchen.

But I was not impressed with its new sister restaurant Temper City, and not for any quirks to do with the fact I went during a soft launch. The staff were friendly and efficient, and if some of them were still working on their knowledge of the menu then who cares, that’s what you expect. The kitchen got everything right, I’m sure, and when they didn’t they told us in advance that they were redoing our dishes. These sorts of growing pains are why they charge you half price and even if they didn’t they would hardly bother me.

No, it was the approach in general that didn’t quite come off. It certainly wasn’t bad, but had I paid full price I would have felt a little bit ripped off.

To begin with, I was surprised they had gone for a curry-based concept. I so confidently assumed that it’d be a rerun of the huge-smoked-pieces-of-quality-meat concept in the Soho original that I didn’t follow any of the news around the opening; I just booked as soon as booking lines were opened, and slavered away happily in anticipation. Actually, the curry-ness of the place can be overstated. There’s still a huge smoker and extractor fan in the middle, and they still offer substantial meat chunks with deep smoky flavours.

It was the price-to-portion ratio that confused me most.

These “crab beignet” puff pastries were delicate, expert, and came with a lovely sweet jam and sour cream, or maybe mayo, but they were £8.50! This is for something with almost no substance and the size of a man’s thumb.

The “Korean haggis”—a mix of coarsely minced or finely chopped duck offal with gochuchang, radishes and chillies, was more substantial, and was delicious and fun to eat wrapped in baby gem as well. But it was £12 for two or three solid mouthfuls! Come on!

The curry plates boasted an array of ingredients, and array they did have, but most of them were pointless. The tomatoes were a bit sad, the potatoes were a bit bland, and while the crunchy sweet nutty salad was lovely, I’m not sure how it combined with the others. The paratha was unbelievably pillowy, but there was barely a handful of (really excellent) goat, and we started with little idea of how to combine the ingredients together in more lettuce wraps, hidden under the mint. Plus it was £17. Is this supposed to be a main that fills you up? I think you’d need two of them, making a meal here an incredible indulgence.

The lamb skewers with kimchi were great, but—I know, I’m a broken record—they were £15. One of them was minced lamb (cheap), and while the other had two substantial cubes of lovely meat, it also had two big pieces of kidney (dirt cheap). Is it really unfeasible to offer a third? I can’t deny the loveliness of the sauce, where kimchi was balanced against a mild mayonnaise or some other creamy base.

We opted for peach, condensed milk, and roti for dessert. It’s a good combo, but I’m not sure they’re quite ready with their roti—these seem like the kind of thing that might get better. It was a bit flat; it didn’t have the bouncy life of a (much cheaper, much bigger) one I had at Roti King just weeks ago.

I hate to criticise Temper because I am a huge huge fan of the approach in so many ways. And I even kinda hope this one does well—maybe prices have to be higher in the City. But I won’t be going along at full price. I’ll be going for Sunday lunch at the original spot. (No medals.)

23 Comments

  1. Interesting. I too am a big fan of the original. One of the things I particularly enjoyed the scope to order a big selection of the meats and share them. Menu for this seems a bit more focused on a dish per person. I know people like to pour scorn on the small plates ‘concept’, but I rather like it.

    Did you try any of the cocktails? have heard good things.

  2. You could well share their half chicken or half duck, or indeed the curry dishes. We shared all of our stuff between two. But I don’t think it works as well. The cocktails looked great but I couldn’t drink that day. £12 cocktails only rarely my bag anyway…

  3. You reviewed us on our soft launch with a 50% discount ? You massive, massive prick. The point of a soft launch is to iron out problems, hence the discount. Please go fuck yourself you unprofessional tosser.

    much love
    neil x

      • Yes 100%. We did that every day based on the detailed feedback forms we left which asked what you would expect to pay. Note he didn’t pay any of those prices anyway.

        • What’s wrong with reviewing during soft launch? He clearly stated he was doing so, and the limitations.

          Your rude response has done much more damage and is far more unprofessional.

          You should apologise, and invite Ben and his team to visit when the restaurant is ready if you’re worried about it pre launch.

          • Why would he apologise? If you’ve ever worked in hospitality you’d understand the point of a soft launch.
            Anyone with half a chimps brain cell would understand that going to review a place during a soft launch is a pointless endeavour as your talking about an experience that likely won’t exist upon full opening.
            The point here isn’t about whether or not the review is positive, it’s the fact that it’s wholly amateur to review before the kinks have been ironed out.

    • You’ve embarrassed yourself here Neil.

      Ben is overall very positive about the food, notes the difficulty of reviewing during a soft launch, and focuses on the portion sizes and price which are unlikely to change later on. I’m impressed if the ‘problems’ that you’ll be ironing out include no longer charging £17 for a small bowl of curry and some sides.

      The fact that you’ve reacted so aggressively tells me that you are aware of the problems this place has and realised that you’ve fucked up. I can’t say I have much sympathy any more!

      • I haven’t at all. We have 60 new members of staff working 18 hour shifts and struggling to get food out to customers with no tips or help who we make not a penny out of it. We do this for constructive feedback and to learn from our mistakes. Reviewing on soft launch is a big no no and a twats trick. I’m happy to take this review to Instagram to get the publics opinion but I feel he’s get a little crushed by it and bullied. This is ignorant and unprofessional and if my reaction is a little unprofessional too so be it but ignorant is ain’t.

  4. Reviewers, including Fay Maschler, regularly review on soft launch, while always making it clear they are doing so.

    The owner/manager seems to have a very short temper, for whatever reason.

    Not going.

  5. Agree with Neil- reviewing on soft launch is not really cool- especially for staff morale.
    BUT everyone is entitled of voicing their opinions (wherever they wish to do so) and a good wee spat is a marketing magic tool.
    Can’t wait to go to Temper City now!

  6. Dear Ben,

    Thanks for visiting us during our soft launch, and for your very helpful review. I’m glad you had such praise for several of our dishes, and our staff, and I have taken on board your comments about the price-to-portion ratio. I know you’ll be pleased that we’re reviewing both prices and portions in light of your constructive feedback. I look forward to welcoming you and your friends to the restaurant very soon.

    Best wishes,
    Somebody Else

  7. I was at Temper last week for the soft launch and have strong opinions about it, which I explained in full detail on the feedback forms we were all given at the end of the meal.

    I know the temptation to be the first reviewer is hard to resist but it’s understandable why Neil Rankin lost his rag (the restaurant name makes sense now).

    If you are getting a discount there is an unspoken embargo on public criticism. You shouldn’t rate a preview, a rehearsal, a work in progress or the rough cut of a film. It’s unprofessional and unfair.

    If you are paying full price or it is an official launch then they are all fair game, no quarter given, even on opening night.

  8. This is ridiculous. The chef/owner shows himself again. No decorum or grace. Just rude and sweary. It is his way or the highway. Time and time again.

    And then he threatens to use the “public”, his adoring fans, to bully anyone who’s opinion IS NOT HIS OWN.

    NO BETTER THAN TRUMP.

    But like Alexis says, he’s also using this as marketing tool.

      • Great – you won’t be dissapointed – and I’m just an admiring punter rather than a shill for the lovely guys. Great blog btw and thanks to S&S for pushing me your way..

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