The best restaurants in King’s Cross
A trip to Paris on the Eurostar might be the best way to indulge in an ooh-la-la French café experience, but what’s the next best thing? A trip to King’s Cross and a visit to this endearing little café – a mere boule’s-throw from the Eurostar terminal. Aux Pains de Papy already has a loyal following of office workers seeking their daily bread and satisfying lunchtime sandwiches, but it’s also worth seeking out for patisserie and boulangerie.
Spanish mini chain Barrafina has been breaking foodie hearts ever since it first arrived on Frith Street way back in 2007. This branch, on the upper level of Coal Drops Yard, comes with outdoor seating to soak up the sun, and in a Barrafina first, there are even two tables for four inside. Don’t miss the eggy, gooey tortilla and the classic croquetas filled with rich, Spanish-style blood pudding.
Compared to some of its other branches, the King’s Cross offshoot of Caravan is a grandiose urbane proposition – all concrete floors, girders and exposed pipework. The industrial-themed interior isn’t built for intimacy, but it still has a laid-back buzz and great people-watching opportunities. As expected, this outlet boasts welcoming, efficient staff and a menu of what they call ‘well-travelled food’ – ie plates of global fusion ranging from lamb ribs with chermoula to Burmese chicken salad.
Eat as many tacos at you can at Casa Pastor, a massive Mexican restaurant at Coal Drops Yard from the team behind much-loved El Pastor in Borough Market. The addictive, slightly chewy corn tortillas are made in-house: order a bunch of them, topped with the likes of juicy pork shoulder and pineapple, and lightly-battered sea bass, then feast on some crispy, sugary churros with warm chocolate sauce for pud.
Fan of The Palomar and The Barbary? Then you’ll love Coal Office, a swish Tom Dixon-designed spot at Coal Drops Yard with some of the city’s best Middle Eastern food. Everything is bold and memorable here: expect delights like fennel with a yoghurt-harissa dressing and seriously good puds; rice pudding with flavours of mango and kaffir lime.
Whirling ceiling fans, vintage Indian magazine ads and other retro wheezes set the scene for some post-colonial romping at this swish London take on an old ‘Irani café’. It’s all very design-conscious and slick, but there’s no arguing with the food – a spicy all-day repertoire running from bhel pooris to biryanis. Expect crazy queues in the evenings (check booking restrictions), though the basement bar is a godsend.
The King’s Cross area is scrubbing up nicely – so nicely that you need to look hard to find a discarded cardboard cup of builder’s tea. With the opening of this little outpost of a royalty-endorsed tea room inside St Pancras station, the gentrification is being buffed to a shine. Signature loose leaf teas, posh preserves and hamper goodies make a fetching display in the international terminal’s gift shop, while the café – a crown jewel of refined light bites – is the perfect setting in which to put the world to rights over the clink of fine china.
The name may conjure up visions of towels on treadmills, but D&D London’s extravagant reboot of London’s first gymnasium is in the business of piling on the calories – rather than sweating them off. A top pick for business lunches, it also serves up its goulash soups, schnitzels, strudels and other Teutonic comforts to early birds, daytime hordes and night owls. Thankfully, portions are restrained – no need to book a workout afterwards.
A paean to the glories of Victorian gothic architecture, this spectacularly resurrected hotel is also home to Marcus Wareing’s eclectic take on British cuisine – although it’s not pitched as a temple to fine dining. Instead, visitors can chill out and marvel at the dramatic interiors before tackling some top victuals – perhaps Dorset crab with quince and fennel or Goosnargh duck breast with pumpkin. Meanwhile, cracking weekend roasts will have you whistling ‘Rule Britannia’!
The King’s Cross outpost of Aussie Bill Granger's all-day sunny-side-up eatery references just about every on-trend fad and fashion on the current foodie agenda: small plates, grains, Korean riffs, Hawaiian-style poké bowls, Thai curries and all sorts of multicultural stuff besides. Granger is also known for giving good brunch, and this spot has the added bonus of in-demand alfresco tables on a quiet piazza.
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