Luke Farrell motors into Soho with Speedboat Bar

By Restaurant

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Luke Farrell motors into Soho with Speedboat Bar

Related tags Luke Farrell Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards Chef Restaurant JKS Restaurants Thai cuisine

Luke Farrell is to launch a second Thai restaurant in quick succession in the capital with a new project in Soho.

Opening in September on Rupert Street, the chef is once again partnering with JKS Restaurants for the launch of Speedboat Bar.

The new launch follows the opening of Farrell’s debut restaurant, the southern Thai focused Plaza Khao Gaeng that recently opened in the revamped Arcade Food Hall​. It will occupy the site that was formerly home to XU and more recently the pop-up Viet Populaire, both also operated by JKS.

Described as a ‘a love letter to Yaowarat Road’, the neon-lit street of Bangkok’s Chinatown, Speedboat Bar will feature ‘fast and furious wok cookery with roasted meats and zingy seafood salads’.

The menu will include market staples such as drunken noodle dishes, stir fries, sticky meat braises, and curries, such as lychees and roasted duck; and soya chicken and winter melon. There will also be salads such as yam mamuang, made with green mango, crispy fish, chillies and pork floss; and the restaurant’s signature dish, tom yam mama soup.

Only one dessert will be served - a candied pineapple and butter pie, Farrell’s twist on the popular Thai treat.

Drinks will include a selection of infused Thai spirits and rice wines, slushies and cocktails such as Snakesblood Negroni; Shop Window Old Fashioned; and Jelly Bia made with frozen Leo lager; as well as soft drinks such as a snakefruit soda.

Many specialist Thai ingredients will be sourced Farrell’’s nursery, Ryewater, in Dorset.

“Speedboat Bar takes inspiration from the Thai-Chinese restaurants in Bangkok’s Chinatown and the thrilling sport of speedboat racing along the canals (klongs) of Thailand,” says Farrell.

“Speedboat racers practise in long-tailed boats, traditional in structure but fixed with supercharged engines, piloted at hundreds of miles per hour by extreme waterborne piston heads. The spirit will be echoed in the food at Speedboat Bar - if the tiller was swapped to a wok handle and set over a 30,000 BTU flame.”

“Speedboat will feature seafood salads hit with acid and chilli, wok flamed noodles, roasted duck curries, all manner of fermented vegetables, waxed meats and crispy omelettes on hotplates...and a tom yam recipe passed to me from my favourite racer.”

The restaurant’s interior will be a homage to a Thai-Chinese shophouse with a utilitarian, stainless steel finish on the ground floor and an upstairs clubhouse bar that will be decorated with trinkets from Bangkok and signed portraits of the racers and have a pool table.

Farrell trained at Spanish-Italian restaurant group Salt Yard before working in kitchens throughout Southeast Asia. He runs his own nursery, Ryewater, in Dorset and splits his time between Thailand, London, and Dorset.

In Autumn 2021, he partnered with JKS Restaurants to launch its first pop-up, Viet Populaire at the Rupert Street site. He was shortlisted in the Chef to Watch category​ in this year's Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards.

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