We knew a few years ago, when we saw Rosario Dawson and Danny Boyle dining at the pop up Shrimpy’s that changes were afoot in King’s Cross, and these days it’s transformed itself beyond all recognition. Here are our current top recommendations for eating and drinking in the area throughout the day.
Dishoom (5 Stable St, London N1C 4AB)
It might seem ridiculous to recommend a restaurant on the basis of one dish but the bacon naan at Dishoom is a thing of wonder. It’s quite a simple concoction: bacon from Ginger Pig with a smear of cream cheese, chilli-tomato ketchup and coriander inside a fluffy naan, but it works so brilliantly you do really wonder why no one thought of it before. There are plenty of other options beside the bacon naan, including Dishoom’s house granola if you want to be healthier, or the Big Bombay – Dishoom’s take on the full English – if you really don’t. They also have a range of pretty good juices and bottomless chai, which isn’t to everyone’s taste but we happen to love it.
Noble Espresso (Battle Bridge Place, London, N1C 4TB)
Coffee drinkers in King’s Cross are now spoilt for choice: Pain Quotidien in St Pancras International Station and Kiosk in King’s Cross Station mean that commuters to the area never need patronise a Costa again. Restaurants such as Caravan and Granger & Co. also make a mean brew. Our top choice however, would be for the Noble Espresso coffee cart in Battle Bridge Place at the foot of King’s Boulevard (if you leave King’s Cross Station via the exit next to Nero Express or the exit next to Boots, you will see the cart). Noble simply serve brilliant coffee (and also builder’s tea for £1). The cart operates Monday – Friday, 7:00am – 4:00pm. At weekends and in the evening, we would recommend Notes, a little further up on King’s Boulevard, as an alternative.
Granger & Co (Stanley Building, 7 Pancras Building, London N1C 4AG)
We were already familiar with Bill Granger’s Notting Hill and Clerkenwell restaurants and this branch is a lovely addition to the mini-chain. The olive leather banqettes and pink marble tables make it probably the chicest place to eat in King’s Cross. All of this would be irrelevant if the food wasn’t up to scratch, of course, but it’s predictably great and the generous portions and Granger’s magpie approach to ingredients make it perfect for a weekend brunch. We are big fans of the tea-smoked salmon with poached eggs and even bigger fans of the delicious chilli fried egg and bacon brioche roll.
Grain Store (Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street, London N1C 4AB)
The best place to eat any meal in King’s Cross is Grain Store. We’ve raved about it before (here) so we won’t repeat ourselves, just go! If you don’t have a booking, don’t even bother pitching up in the evening but they may be able to squeeze you in at lunch.
The Fellow (24 York Way, London, N1 9AA)
Any of the restaurants we’ve already mentioned would be very nice for dinner. It’s also worth considering the Fellow, a gastropub in an area where there are few of them. We would go back for the smoked mackerel salad with pink grapefruit and horseradish cream alone, but they also have a range of heartier main courses and very decent puddings.
Best place to buy wine
Vinoteca Wine Shop (3 King’s Boulevard, London, N1C 4BU)
In a mad hurry, we suppose you might grab a bottle from Waitrose in King’s Cross station or M&S in St Pancras. Far better however, is Vinoteca’s recently opened wine shop which is attached to the restaurant. Staff are notably helpful.
Sourced Market (St Pancras International, Pancras Road, London, N1C 4QP)
The obvious place if you want to buy fancy biscuits in nice packaging, say, is Fortnum’s in St Pancras. Don’t overlook Sourced Market in the same station (opposite Starbucks) however — it has some more unusual foodie gifts, not least a lovely range of jams from England Preserves.
The Gilbert Scott Bar (The Gilbert Scott, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, London, NW1 2AR)
Both the Grain Store and Camino (a Spanish bar that also serves great tapas) mix a mean cocktail. If you want somewhere for a proper conversation with a friend – or even for a date – the Gilbert Scott Bar in the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel is probably the best bet, however. Delicious cocktails, brilliant service — this is about as far away as it’s possible to get from the average train station drinking hole.