From Fluid Movement, which brought us Purl and the Worship Street Whistling Shop, VOC occupies a smallish, cosy space in one of north London’s most restaurant-intensive precincts. The name derives from the Dutch East India Company, and there’s a nautical and historical theme to the drinks list. Punches based on old recipes figure large, though modern technology brings them right up to date. Playing it safe with the classics is by no means the inferior option, however, as textbook martinis and caipirinhas proved. It took us a while to get our drinks because of lack of staff behind the tiny bar (barely five feet long), and there’s no table service, so you have to queue. But no one seemed to mind. Interestingly, more people were drinking beer or wine than cocktails, at least on our visit. VOC now has a restaurant too, majoring on grilled meat.
Irresistible burgers and steaks lead the VOC menu. Served with chips, discover the 'old smokey' burger, made from dry-aged Scottish beef with smoked cheese, mayonnaise and salad. Or for a vegetarian alternative try the mixed bean falafel patty in a brioche bun with hummus. Cut from 28-day aged Scottish Highland beef, the rib-eye, sirloin and fillet steaks are served with a choice of barbecue, blue cheese, peppercorn or wild mushroom sauce.
The drinks selection at the VOC bar in King's Cross is just as enticing, pairing an impressive range of craft beers with expertly crafted cocktails. Stand-out concoctions include the Boston flip, which includes bourbon whisked with madeira wine, black treacle and a hint of absinthe, all emulsified with a whole egg and dusted with cocoa.
Tucked away behind King's Cross station, VOC London has an enviable location which puts the whole of the city within easy reach.