In the past three year’s King’s Cross has gone from a through road with kebab shops and night clubs to one of London’s smarter destination areas and that is largely in part to its ever-growing restaurant scene. Here we round up 7 of the best restaurants that have turned King’s Cross into a foodie Mecca
Karpo is the perfect example of not judging a book by its cover. On the outside of this hotel restaurant brightly coloured graffiti gives the place a bit of a rough and ready, edgy look. Inside, the space is dimly lit and the industrial furniture continues the urban theme. But when you delve into the menu, this is where Karpo takes a softer turn. Dishes are split into small, medium and large plates – pick according to hunger. You’ll find dainty courgette flowers, razor clam chowder, peas with broad beans and ricotta, roast monkfish, and – the star of the menu – 42-day aged fillets of beef, which when we visited, were cooked to complete perfection.
23-27 Euston Rd, London NW1 2SD; karpo.co.uk
2 Plum + Spilt Milk
This relative newcomer to the King’s Cross food scene takes all-day dining to the next level by serving from dawn until dusk (aka midnight). Set inside the Great Northern Hotel, Plum + Spilt Milk has a certain grandeur to it and its curved booths, bare lights and smooth interiors won Interior Design of the Year, Best Restaurant Interiors at the European Hotel Design Awards last year. Food is equally impressive, the menu follows London’s trend for fresh, healthy and well-sourced modern-European cooking. Breakfast deserves a particular mention, you’ll find egg white omelettes, quinoa porridge and buckwheat crepes, while the all day à la carte cruises through the UK scooping up the best ingredients and serving it as classic crowd pleasers, which chef Mark Sargeant can take the credit for. Those travelling from King’s Cross and in a rush will enjoy the express set menu too. Read about its chocolate feast menu
The Great Northern Hotel, King’s Cross Station, Pancras Road, N1C 4TB; plumandspiltmilk.com
3 Grain Store
As London groans under the weight of burger restaurants, rib shacks and smokehouses, French chef Bruno Loubet is taking one for the veggies. Grain Store opened last year in a vast Victorian warehouse in Granary Square, a neighbour to our next entry Caravan, and since then Loubet and his partner Tony Conigliaro have received rave reviews for their vegetable-focused dishes and herb-infused drinks. The menu is filled with poetic sounding offerings like Charentais melon ‘Gaspacho’ with flowers and a touch of ginger; salted watermelon, with borage flowers, pink grapefruit, crab mayonnaise and curry oil, and mango, fresh herbs and rice vermicelli Indochine salad with seared beef – all of which look as good as they sound and taste even better.
Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street, N1C 4AB; grainstore.com
Next door to Grain Store in a similar space is Caravan, and another cracking menu. Although Caravan’s website shouts about its amazing coffee, which is no lie, it has much more to offer than just a good brew. Sharing plates include the likes of bulgar wheat, spinach and manouri pastille with green olive yoghurt; chargrilled lemongrass pork with crispy turnip cake and chilli jam, and seabass ceviche, all washed down with tasty tumblers of wine and served in a very cool industrial space.
Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA; caravankingscross.co.uk
5 The Gilbert Scott
Housed within the stunning St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, The Gilbert Scott totally transports guests back to the golden age of travel. Curtained window, decorated cornicing, cosy leather booths, dim lighting and big round tables make you feel like you’re on the Orient Express heading for Venice. As one of the Marcus Wareing restaurants, the food at The Gilbert Scott is of the highest order, but while the menu might be fine dining, the atmosphere is more neighbourhood restaurant. And community is important to it, the restaurant has played a vital role in the regeneration of King’s Cross. Read more about it here.
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road NW1 2AR; 020 7278 3888; thegilbertscott.co.uk
New kid on the block T.E.D (Think.Eat.Drink) aims to revolutionise the way we think about food. The man behind this restaurant is Jamie Grainger-Smith who, in the past, has worked with the likes of Jamie Oliver and Alistair Little and is the culinary brains behind many restaurants around London. His vision is to start using renewable sources, waste nothing and use local produce. As a result T.E.D doesn’t use burn any gas in the restaurant, it uses iPads instead of tills, the light bulbs are all LED and even the napkins and paint are eco-friendly. The building itself has retained its original Victoria style, with white salvage doors modernised using built-in mirrors, and reclaimed Victorian skirting boards used next to green and blue reused tiles. All suppliers must take a test to prove their eco-friendliness and all food is fully traceable. The menu changes frequently but you can expect British crab, lamb risotto and biodynamic wines to feature.
47-51 Caledonian Road N1 9BU; 020 3763 2080; tedrestaurants.co.uk
An old King’s Cross filling station might not sound like a gastronome delight, but there’s not a whiff of petrol fumes or sight of pumps in Shrimpy’s. Instead a wide-lens window fills the diner-style room with light and rows of neat tables line up with velvet banquettes and white table cloths. Shrimpy’s was launched by the team behind Bistrotheque in Bethnal Green who have created a short and snappy menu of five or six appetisers, mains, burgers and desserts – the soft shell crab burger has been given lots of air time. There’s a serious wine list full of New World and Spanish beauties, plus cocktails that give of a distinct Latin vibe.
King’s Cross Filling Station, Goods Way, N1C 4UR, shrimpys.co.uk