Once the sole preserve of the occasional farmer’s market and Caribbean cafes, goat meat is finally emerging from the dining wilderness and making it onto some of the best menus in town.
Recent years have seen a rise in the popularity of this super tasty meat, meaning that whilst once male goats were no more than a waste product of the dairy industry, today baby billy goats have a nice — albeit short — life gambolling around before ending up on the plate.
With a flavour similar to lamb, but deeper, more savoury and slightly gamier, it’s no surprise that London restaurateurs are sitting up and taking notice. Here are a few of our favourites.
Predictably, this busy Soho bar and dining room makes a thing about serving its namesake. Their whole smoked goat shoulder with Thai herbs is immense and will feed a table — which is handy as you can’t book for under six people. Eat with the traditional Som Tam (green papaya salad) and pretend you’re at a Thai beach barbecue.
Smoking Goat, 7 Denmark Street, WC2H 8LZ
There’s no fixed menu at this iconic Islington Italian, but they’ve had a fair few goat dishes on their daily specials lately. We ate the slow roasted kid shoulder with baked cannellini beans and purple olive dressing recently, which was a rustic plate of heaven, and now there’s a suckling kid shoulder with wet polenta and salsa rossa. We’re going back.
Trullo, 300-302 St Paul’s Roat, N1 2LH
You could do worse than while away an afternoon at historic riverside pub, The Gun, over in the Docklands. Sit outside and enjoy the boats whizzing past whilst you tuck into their shoulder of kid with hickory smoked ribs, cumin and carrot puree, Swiss chard, roast garlic mash and thyme jus. Their goat meat is supplied by ex-River Cottager James Whetlor at Cabrito — credited with making goat a popular choice among London restaurateurs and Michelin chefs alike.
The Gun, 27 Coldharbour Lane, E14 9NS
Adam Handling at Caxton
You’ll recognise 26 year old Adam Handling from Masterchef the Professionals 2013, where he was a finalist having honed his skills at Gleneagles. Recently awarded Scottish Chef of the Year, he now runs the kitchen at the Caxton Grill in St Ermin’s Hotel in Westminster and is a passionate goat meat advocate. His tasting menu often includes the deceptively simple sounding ‘goat slow cooked, shallots, spelt’ which has an incredible depth of goaty flavour.
Caxton, 2 Caxton Street, SW1H 0QW
Curry goat is 10 a penny in this town, particularly if you’re lucky enough to be in Brixton or Dalston. But it can be hard to find a really good place to eat. Try Rudie’s in Dalston and you won’t be disappointed: their spin on Caribbean food is spot on and so are their cocktails. If you can manage not to order their incredible jerk chicken then go for their traditional bone-in goat and mutton curry which is perfectly spiced — or at least order a curry goat patty on the side.
Rudies, 50 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XB
Traditional Neapolitan pizza this ain’t: haggis, leek and potato pizza, anyone? But these guys know what they’re doing and have got the basics down with proper wood-fired oven bases, incredible sauces and creative, frequently-changing toppings. Once you get over the sheer size of the 20-inch pizzas on display, order the amazing goat, savoy cabbage and sumac yoghurt one sharpish. Or do half an half with a traditional Caprese.
Homeslice, branches in Covent Garden, Fitzrovia and Old Street. See website for details.