'Lightnin' Hot Things' Delicious Food at Orbit Taproom
‘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.’
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.
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.’
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.
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.