Kane notched his 200th goal in league football with only five minutes on the clock and then sealed the game with a header late in the second half to move to joint third in the list of Premier League all-time scorers on 187.
It could have been an even better day for the Spurs striker but he was denied the match ball when he saw his penalty kick midway through the second half saved by Forest keeper Dean Henderson.
It’s hard to make the case that Spurs have been the better team in any of their games this season, but their ability to eke out results while not at their best can only bode well for manager Antonio Conte.
"It's a difficult place to come as the atmosphere here is really good," said Kane. "We didn't play our best, we know that. We dug in and I think there's been a few games like that this season. We got the three points but for sure we know we can do better."
Conte added: “Our start [to the season] was good. It’s important in the Premier League to try to get three points in every game. We have to continue in this way, it’s not easy, another clean sheet and we scored two goals."
An entertaining encounter caught fire after five minutes when Dejan Kulusevski ran at the Forest defence before releasing a perfectly timed ball for Kane, who took a touch before unleashing a shot that bobbled more than it bombed past Henderson.
To their credit, Forest were unperturbed by the early setback, with Brennan Johnson persistently asking questions of the Tottenham rearguard. The Forest striker fizzed a ball across goal and then minutes later saw his strike take a deflection to evade Hugo Lloris’ right post. A 30th-minute header trickled along a similar path, but his tenacity typified Forest‘s willingness to go toe-to-toe with their more illustrious opponents.
Son Heung-min has looked a shadow of the player who collected 23 league goals last term and the South Korean again struggled to make an impact. After curling a shot over on 15 minutes his afternoon was summed up by a handball as he tried to bring a Kane pass under control with the goal at his mercy. It was no surprise to see him hooked midway through the second half. More so that he had the gall to question Conte’s decision to do it.
Forest began the second half brightly, with Ryan Yates directing a header narrowly wide.
Spurs were presented with a golden opportunity to double their lead on 53 minutes when Steve Cook lost his bearings under the flight of an Ivan Perisic cross and handled the ball with Kane poised to head home.
After a lengthy VAR check, in which Cook was perhaps lucky to see his yellow card not upgraded to a red, Kane stepped up to take but Henderson dived to his right to palm away the Tottenham striker’s effort. It was the Manchester United loanee’s second penalty save of the season after denying West Ham’s Declan Rice earlier this month.
Forest almost equalised when Neco Williams fired a volley just wide while Kulusevski dragged a shot just wide in one of Spurs’ rare forays forward.
Richarlison was introduced for the ineffective Son and Ryan Sessegnon replaced Perisic down Spurs left midway through the second half and both played their part in securing Tottenham’s second goal.
Sessegnon broke down the left but delayed his cross to an unmarked Kane and allowed Scott McKenna to recover lost ground and block the Spurs winger’s eventual cross.
Kane was rightly furious, holding his head in his hands, but had the wherewithal to hang around in the penalty area as Spurs recycled the ball. Richarlison sent in a pinpoint cross with the outside of his right foot to allow Kane a free header for his and Spurs’ second.
With that Kane moved level with Andy Cole on 187 Premier League goals, with only Wayne Rooney and Alan Shearer now ahead of him.