Situated in a brand-new three-floor building in the redeveloped plaza behind King’s Cross station, The Lighterman has that feeling of being fresh out of the box. It’s doing the gastropub thing to a fault: chips come in tiny metal buckets; plates are never used where a chopping board will do. Everything you see on the menu, you’ve seen before.
Of course, if the food’s good, that needn’t be a problem. Cured trout came with a fiery mayonnaise; mushroom on brioche was silky and topped with a runny-yolked egg. Mains were a bit more shaky: the ribeye steak was generous and tender, but the lamb chop was too charred around the edges. Also, the béarnaise sauce I ordered alongside it was impossible to extricate from its tiny jug. (Still, I imagine the sight of me frantically shaking it over my plate provided entertainment for those sat nearby.) Desserts ended the meal on a high: moist, sumptuous sticky toffee pudding and a hit of sweetness and salt in the form of a peanut butter parfait.
Don’t go to The Lighterman for surprises. Do go for swish surroundings and attentive staff – they were only too happy to re-seat us out in the sunshine on the terrace, overlooking the fountains of Granary Square. In an area that’s seen quite a facelift, this could easily become one of its top spots.