'A roaring wood-oven fire is both atmospheric and perfect for getting those chewy crusts on their pizzas'


Open daily midday–10.30pm

The blurb:

Goat is a popular, Italian-style restaurant, bar, and speakeasy perfect for a lively (but-not-too-fancy) night out on busy Fulham Road, in the chill part of Chelsea. The Italian-style food offerings include wood-fired pizzas (topped with everything from pulled kid goat to goat’s cheese), and Anglicised Italian staples like zucchini fritti served with chili mayo and linguine served with Dorset crab, chili, and salsa verde.

Besides the industrial-meets-historic charm of the ground-floor eatery, you’ll also find a fashionable cocktail bar upstairs, as well as a hidden speakeasy, tucked away and password-protected.

The style

Even when the joint is packed, Goat’s high ceilings and pared-back layout feels inviting. Industrial lights hang on wires overhead and compliment Yale blue walls. A semi-open kitchen shows off a roaring, wood-oven fire, which is both atmospheric and perfect for getting those chewy crusts on their pizzas. The logs for the fire double as décor, as they line the walls. Pops of decorative wallpaper sneak out and add a hint of vintage glamour.

Though housed in a seventeenth-century building, the space comes off as industrial and smart—without being too heavy-handed. The staff is a flurry of energy in provincial striped aprons, which is a cute touch.

The crowd

On a Friday night, Goat is abuzz with customers. A hotspot for locals, most patrons appear to be couples from the neighborhood on a casual date night or after-work mates bonding over cold beers and hot pizzas.

Perhaps it has such a great community following because of the daily happy hour from 4pm to 7pm, which offers a complimentary antipasti platter with select bottles of wine (there’s also a generous 50% food discount given to residents of SW3, SW6, SW7, and SW10 on Wednesdays). Regardless of what brings in the crowd, they’re clearly down for a good time and the fast service, buzzing vibe, and upbeat music makes that happen.

The food

Nothing on Goat’s Italianate menu of wood-fired pizzas (£12-16), antipasti starters (£4-10), and mains (£14-26) is especially creative or groundbreaking—and that’s totally okay because what they do, they do well. The burrata starter was as it should be: none of the accoutrements (Datterini tomatoes or salsa verde) interfered or competed with the majesty that is genuine, fresh, pure Italian burrata cheese sprinkled with flurries of sea salt flakes and cracked black pepper. It did go especially well with the salty rosemary focaccia flatbread—so well in fact that I wish I didn’t have to order the bread separately.

The calamari fritti was a tad rubbery, but the flavour notes in the accompanying basil mayo were spot on. The mains of 32-day aged rib eye tagliata and grilled corn-fed chicken with asparagus risotto were both well presented. Both the steak and chicken were well cooked and tender as butter, and again, not overly fussed with. And that’s a good thing: when you can cook a piece of meat like that you simply don’t need to jazz it up or hide it away with wild and weird flavor combos. Simple is sometimes the hardest thing to do well.

This trend continues into dessert, where the flavours of my pistachio and chocolate brownie were pronounced and uncompetitive with each other (the flourless, dense texture was also just right). There was also a rather lovely tiramisu, charmingly served in a terra cotta flowerpot with a green shoot of mint “growing” out of the top of the tiramisu’s delicate cream.

The drink

There’s a reasonable selection of red, white, rosé, and sparkling wines to choose from (at least six of each, and most are Italian or French). There’s also a nice cocktail selection, featuring lesser-known classic concoctions such as The Aviation, made with gin, citrus, and violet liqueur, and there’s a small-but-well-chosen beer assortment.

Most patrons appear to be here partly for the drinks. There’s an upstairs cocktail bar that hosts weekly cocktail master classes, and also a secret bar located within Goat called Chelsea Prayer Room that requires a password to enter. The drinking carries on well into the weekend, as Goat also hosts a Reggaeton Bottomless Brunch every Saturday.

In a nutshell

An energetic local hangout with reliable, unfussy Italianate fare.

The details:

Goat, 333 Fulham Rd, London SW10; www.goatchelsea.com; 020 7352 1384

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