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'Lightnin' Hot Things' Delicious Food at Orbit Taproom

Lightnin' Hot Things Team

From day one at the Orbit Taproom, the team wanted to find a kindred spirit for the kitchen to serve food that reflected Orbit’s values and complemented the beers. They were looking for someone independent and innovative, with a modern take on the traditional (and a love for good music – of course).

Introducing Martin – AKA Lightnin’ Hot Things, and his wonderful team, Bim, Danny, Natalia and Macky.

Named after blues guitarist & songwriter Lightnin’ Hopkins, Lightnin’ Hot Things has been in residence at Orbit Taproom from day one, cooking up delicious food to pair with Orbit Beers.

 Lightnin' Hot Things summer dishes

With a wealth of experience in professional kitchens, Martin was keen to set something up of his own, and when childhood friend and Orbit Beers Manager Robbie mentioned that the taproom needed a chef in residence, it seemed like perfect timing to get Lightnin’ Hot Things up and running.

Martin’s menus champion seasonal, quality ingredients sourced from sustainable suppliers. Having worked all over the world, from Mumbai and Mexico to Brooklyn and Portugal, his food is inspired by a variety of different cuisines and experiences he’s had over the years. He doesn’t own any cookbooks or write down any recipes, but loves creating new dishes that showcase his modern take on traditional cooking.
 

‘Like many chefs, I started off washing pots at the age of 14, and I liked the lifestyle, the environment, and the challenges that came with the fast-paced shifts. Plus once I was given a chance to do some cooking, I realised I was pretty good at it!

Having ADHD, I’m lucky that my hyperfocus is cooking, as many people with the condition can’t choose what they hyperfocus on. It can be really debilitating if it is something that distracts or hinders the process, but I thrive on being busy and creative under pressure.’

Lightnin Hot things Team Orbit Beers taproom

One of the learnings that Martin has picked up through experimentation and research is the seven tastes we can detect on the tongue: sweet, bitter, sour, salty, meaty (umami), cool, and hot. His dishes aim to balance all these elements perfectly, along with a variety of textures and flavours.

 
‘I love rich food, but a lot of it can be overbearing, which is why I try to condense flavours down into smaller dishes and have more variety. I also try to season with vinegar, sugars, and fats rather than just salt and pepper. I love creating sauces for every kind of flavour, you’ll see all of my homemade concoctions propped up above the counter. They add such depth of flavour and they’re fun to play around with. So if you’re ordering something from our menu, you can be sure that it has many different concentrated seasoning liquors in it’

 Lightnin Hot things Chef, Magic liquors

Lightnin’ Hot Things was born from a desire to see a change in an industry that is notorious for overlooking its staff. Years spent working in traditional kitchens took their toll on Martin’s mental health, and he wanted to show that he could do things differently if given the opportunity. The well-being of Martin’s staff is his main priority: fair pay, flexibility, creative input, and a positive working environment. He also wanted to showcase that good food doesn’t need to be overcomplicated, overpriced, or served in a formal setting.

‘I enjoy the learning process, and feedback from customers and staff on what works and what doesn’t. Cooking at a taproom, I try to pair each menu with the Orbit Beers of the season. So many different flavours come through from their beers, and they cut through rich dishes brilliantly. Orbit beers are quite lightly carbonated as well, which is perfect to serve with food, as it doesn’t fill you up too much.’

Lightnin' Hot Things Grilled BBQ Sole Orbit Taproom

The menu is updated regularly, which can be found on the Orbit News and Events pages, or on Martin’s Instagram @lightninhotthings. The new summer menu has some brilliant additions such as confit cauliflower and Portuguese octopus salad, as well as some familiar favourites, like croquettes and the ragu melt.

Steak Lightnin Hot Things Orbit Taproom

‘We still do roasts every Sunday, you can’t beat a well-cooked Sunday roast. People come from all over London for ours, so it’s a good idea to book a table. I’ve also got some BBQs lined up for the Summer. The taproom has a great beer garden that’s a bit of a sun trap, so we’ve got to get the BBQ out for some weekend events while it’s hot!’

You can find Martin’s latest menu here, and the roast dinner menu here.

Book a table at the taproom here, or give us a ring:  020 7703 9092

 LIghtnin hot Things team, Orbit Beers

Reviews:

Georgia, Facebook Reviews - I am astounded at not only the quality but also how delicious the Sunday Lunch we had here today was. Huge compliments to the chef. The flavours were impeccable, nothing can be faulted, everything cooked to perfection. I can’t believe what I just ate! I didn’t want the eating session to end. Highly recommend!


Dan, Google Reviews - The food is fantastic - chefs Lightnin’ Hot Things cooking in the corner of the bar serving food that would not be out of place in a great restaurant.  I had the beef cheeks, and can't wait to go back for more. The Sunday Roast also sounds excellent!


Nick, Google Reviews- Two fantastic meals in a week. First off I had the ox cheek lasagne which was delicious, Mitcham Belle had the Cretan salad which I nicked quite a lot of and was also really great. Went back today for Yorkshire lamb and the roast beef. I have to say the lamb was fantastic and that’s coming from a Welshman, sweet and tender. If you think you are going to get a huge plate of meat and veg go check out the prices of food, what you do get is proper quality food cooked really well, lovely veg and good gravy. I really rate this place and you get the added bonus of Orbit beers which I think I’ve tried virtually everyone.


Stuart, Google Reviews - They’ve done the impossible with this place; excellent craft beer (and I mean excellent - a competitor to Verdant, Cloudwater; a top tier UK craft), twinned with a pop-up that serves an incredible seasonal menu, and the best roast I’ve had in London. St. John style simple dishes, outstanding beer. So good here.