Latest opening: Temper Paddington

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Images: Food Photography London
Images: Food Photography London

Related tags Temper Sam Lee Restaurant steakhouse London R200 Multi-site

The steakhouse and barbecue restaurant group has launched its fifth London site.

What: ​The latest opening from London-based steakhouse and barbecue restaurant group Temper, housed on the former KuPP site at Paddington Basin.

Who: ​Temper was founded by restaurateur Sam Lee and chef Neil Rankin back in 2016 (the latter subsequently left the group in 2019). It opened its first site on Broadwick Street in Soho and followed it with Temper City in 2017, and Temper Covent Garden in 2018. In its original form, each of Temper's restaurants had its own specific focus, with the debut Soho site majoring on tacos and mezcal; the City site specialising in gin and curry; and Covent Garden focusing on house-cured meat, pizza and vermouth. However, all restaurants were subsequently aligned under the core concept that was established at Soho. Temper returned to the expansion trail in 2022 after a four-year hiatus with the launch of a new Shoreditch restaurant. With Paddington, the group’s estate now stands at five sites.

The food: ​Overseen by chef director David Lagonell, Temper Paddington serves an almost identical menu to that found at the group’s other sites, with a selection of barbecue, smoked meats, seafood and tacos on offer. One notable innovation to launch exclusively at the Paddington restaurant, however, is the new Temper parrilla – a take on the classic mixed grill, designed to take advantage of the group’s focus on sourcing whole beasts rather than single cuts of meat. Served on an Argentinian-style grill, it includes a 28-day, dry-aged steak cooked on the bone; salt and pepper pork sausage; rare breed beef sausage; black pudding; smoked brisket; smoked pork chop; provolone picante cheese; and piquillo pepper. The dish, which is designed to share, is served with triple-cooked chips, a house salad and chimichurri sauce.

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To drink: ​While beer and wine both feature, the focus here is on cocktails with Temper serving an extensive range of Mexican-inspired drinks. They include a range of margaritas, house cocktails and specials, two of which are exclusive to the restaurant and inspired by the Paddington Bear stories synonymous with the station. They are the Aunt Lucy, which features Beefeater London dry gin, crème de peche, lemon, orange marmalade and foaming bitters; and the Uncle Pastuzo with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Antica Formula, orange marmalade, and orange bitters.

The vibe: ​Situated on the ground floor of a high-rise complex overlooking the Grand Union Canal, Temper Paddington is a vast space that features a large open kitchen and separate bar and dining areas. In total the restaurant holds 120 covers inside with a further 70 seats available on the terrace. Designed by Takagicapéran, the interior takes inspiration from Temper’s live fire theme with burnt orange tones present throughout the space alongside polished wood and leather textures.

And another thing: ​Now firmly back on the expansion trail, Temper is eyeing further growth with a new concept set to launch in the coming months (more on that below).

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Where could Temper go next?

When Temper Paddington was announced at the tail end of last year, founder Sam Lee described it as ‘a real milestone’ in the group’s expansion process. Certainly, reaching five sites is a significant step for a group that up until a couple of years ago appeared to have lost all sense of momentum with regards to expansion. Part of that, of course, could be attributed to the pandemic, but even before that Temper’s push for growth seemed to have cooled.

Four years passed between the group’s openings in Covent Garden (2018) and Shoreditch (2022), and in that time Temper’s proposition changed dramatically – shifting from operating numerous disparate concepts to focusing on one, singular approach. “When we originally opened in the City and Covent Garden we tried to do something different, and it just didn’t work,” Lee said in an interview with Restaurant​ ahead of the Shoreditch launch. “Since then, we’ve gone back to our roots.”

The opening in Paddington suggests this decision has paid dividends. According to the group’s most recent accounts, which covers the year to 26 February 2023, the business continues to ‘perform well’ with an underlying company EBITDA of £268,000. “The objective of the business is to continue to expand the portfolio and open new sites,” the report states.

So where could Temper go next? In the short term the group is understood to be gearing up to launch an offshoot brand called Temper Burger, a smash burger concept developed by Lee and group chef director David Lagonell as a way of using up off cuts as the group puts more focus on its whole animal butchery programme. Temper Burger is expected to make its debut in Westfield London in the coming months, although an official opening is yet to be announced.

Further restaurants under Temper’s core brand are also likely. Back when Lee was launching Shoreditch, she spoke of wanting to take Temper outside of central London and, sure enough, Paddington is billed as Temper’s first non central London location (given it’s still in Zone One, it could hardly be described as a major play for the suburbs). Future openings could go more local or even look beyond the confines of the capital. “We want to move into different parts of London and potentially different parts of the country,” Lee has previously said. “Covid taught us that we need to behave in a different way as a brand. All of our restaurants are in central London locations, and that’s risky. So, we are looking to expand, and we want to be more flexible about where we do that.”

Related topics Restaurant Openings Casual Dining

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