Situated in the beating heart of Shoreditch, the Smoking Goat is the second restaurant started by Brian Hannon and his business partners Ben Chapman and head chef Ali Borer. Their company Super 8 Restaurants now owns three restaurants; two share a building in Shoreditch, Smoking Goat and Brat, while their first, Kiln, is based in Soho.
Smoking Goat has a menu inspired by the late-night canteens of Bangkok, while Brat combines Welsh and Basque cuisines. Kiln offers a Thai-based grill menu. The restaurants use wood charcoal to deliver an authentically smokey flavour with their meals.
All three were recently included in the National Restaurant Awards’ top 100 restaurants of 2018, with Kiln taking the number one spot, Brat at 14 and Smoking Goat at 68. “We’re very happy with that,” says Brian. “Smoking Goat has an equivalent spend per head of Nando’s, and it’s in the top 100! And Brat got that high just weeks after opening, that’s an incredible achievement, we’re very proud of what the whole team has accomplished so far.”
Smoking Goat is a relaxed, informal eating spot, but as any restauranteur knows, you need to put in a lot of work behind the scenes to get that seamless customer experience. It has 100 covers, and is open from brunch until late every night. “We’re in a very large building here,” says Brian. “Both restaurants run separately, but they do share some back-of-house facilities.”
Quality is vitally important. “We are very particular about the suppliers we work with,” Brian explains. “Fresh seafood is delivered daily from Cornwall, our farmer Sean grows all our herbs and vegetables, and we have a butchery in the basement at Shoreditch that prepares all the meat used in all of our restaurants”.
With such high standards for the menu, the presentation needs to reach the same high standards. “Obviously we want the plates and glasses to be perfectly clean every time, so we needed to make sure we had the right equipment”.
Working with The Advance Group, they chose to continue the relationship begun in Kiln and picked Winterhalter to handle their dish, utensil and glasswashing requirements. “After we identified exactly what our requirements were, only Winterhalter had the customisation options and the backup service we needed.”
The equipment selected for Smoking Goat and Brat was based on each restaurant’s requirements and the amount of available space. “There’s more space available upstairs, so Brat has a large passthrough warewasher we can use to clean all the crockery as well as gastronorm pans. But downstairs space is tighter, so Smoking Goat’s passthrough is smaller and just used for crockery. But it’s more than capable of keeping up with the demand we face at peak times,” says Brian.
The layout of Smoking Goat also helped to define some of the other choices they made. “We only have room for a small clean up area at the Smoking Goat, with one small window. This could easily get warm and humid during the summer. So we chose the PT Energy, with the integrated extractor hood.”
All Winterhalter machines are designed to be as energy efficient as possible. The EnergyPlus unit captures any steam produced and uses it to help heat the incoming water, which helps to reduce energy consumption by up to 20% as well as reducing the amount of waste steam, helping to create a more pleasant working environment. Further energy is recovered from the waste water heat exchanger, which can reduce energy use by another 10%. “Being able to have that kind of cleaning ability so close to the dining area and without having to worry about excess heat and steam affecting the diner’s experience is exactly what we need.”
Meanwhile, a UC-XL is sited in the basement. “The butchery and prep areas are down there as well so space is really limited,” says Brian. “We have an undercounter unit to wash the pots and pans. It really helps to maximise the use of the space we do have.”
Besides perfect crockery, clean glassware is vital. The glasswashers in use across the two restaurants are undercounter models with integrated Reverse Osmosis units that filter minerals and other particulates, helping to guarantee perfect results every time.
The glasswasher in Smoking Goat has been fitted with the optional cooling function, which means glasses end the wash cycle cool. “In Smoking Goat, we freeze our glasses, to provide perfectly chilled drinks to diners. Once they’re cleaned, they go into a cabinet set to -22°C,” explains Brian. “It saves our staff time, not having to wait for the glasses to cool down before we can move them into the freezer. It’s been marvellous to be able to discuss our requirements with Winterhalter, and they provide solutions that suit our needs perfectly.”
As well as equipment, Winterhalter also offers a comprehensive range of chemicals specially designed to provide brilliant cleaning. Brian is impressed. “The chemicals are great, you can immediately see the difference on the glasses.”
The chemicals also highlight the quality of Winterhalter’s service. “They’ve been helping us to tweak the detergent levels, to get the results as good as they can be,” says Brian. “I tell you, with the combination of the Reverse Osmosis, the detergents and the rinse aid, the glasses are astonishingly clean.”
The service package was another important reason for choosing Winterhalter. “We’re planning on being in the restaurant game for a long time, so it makes sense to look for a long-term partner,” says Brian. “Discovering a company with the same drive to continuously improve their product obviously chimed with our ethos, and they’ve been a pleasure to work with. If we need to call them out, the engineers are here at a moment’s notice and always eager to help.”
The final fit was Winterhalter’s commitment to sustainability. “Obviously this is a vital part of any modern restaurant worth its salt,” says Brian. “We’re constantly looking for ways to reduce our consumption, of energy, of water, everything. You absolutely have to consider your environmental impact, so partnering with another company that feels the same means we’re both always trying to work out new ways to reduce our impact on the planet.
“We’re very excited with how our first year in Shoreditch has been shaping up,” says Brian. “With partners like Winterhalter behind us, the next few years are going to be even better!”