An unexpected treasure amidst the hustle and bustle of London’s busy King’s Cross
When you think of London’s great dining spots, King’s Cross station isn’t the first that springs to mind.
However, upstairs in the Great Northern Hotel, part of the area’s large-scale redevelopment, I made a rather wonderful discovery.
Plum + Spilt Milk (so named after the colour of the uniforms on the old Great Northern Railway) is a gem of a restaurant showcasing the best of British produce through a traditional menu with a few tasty ‘quirks’.
So what’s there to love about it? Well, first off, the décor is rather marvellous. Clearly inspired by the hotel’s railway roots, the wood panelling and traditional details such as the vintage wall mirrors sit perfectly alongside modern lighting and bold colour-block walls and somehow make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to the golden age of the railways.
Somehow you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to the golden age of the railways
Then, there’s the menu. With plenty of classic dishes to choose from, everyone is bound to find something they’ll enjoy – plus there are separate menus for breakfast (this is definitely on my list to try in the future) and Sunday Roast.
Visiting on a Wednesday evening, my dining companion and I stuck to the à la carte menu, ordering dressed Portland crab with crushed avocado and sourdough croutons (him) and steamed Wye Valley asparagus with poached Loch Duart salmon and a wild garlic mayonnaise (me). I find salmon is often a good indicator of ingredient quality, and mine was top-notch and delicious with the garlic and asparagus flavours. My friend declared his dressed Portland crab the ‘best crab he’d ever tasted’ – quite an accolade.
For mains we both stuck to the fish theme, choosing the Orkney scallops with roasted cauliflower, samphire and sherry vinegar caramel and the olive oil-poached fillet of halibut with peas, bacon, baby gem and a sorrel sauce. Both were melt-in-the-mouth delicious, and perfectly cooked.
My friend declared his dressed Portland crab the ‘best crab he’d ever tasted’ – quite an accolade
With just about enough room saved for dessert, my friend opted for the restaurant’s signature dish, Plum + Spilt Milk. This turned out to be a sweet and sticky cinnamon and sugar-coated beignet served with rich plums and milk ice-cream. I chose the chocolatey number – an entertaining dish of rich chocolate coated in a thin chocolate dome, which melted deliciously when plied with the hot caramel toffee sauce. I found the accompanying tart passion fruit coulis a little too much for my palate when combined with the flavours of chocolate, toffee and honeycomb – but not enough to stop me eating it.
Overall, we had a very enjoyable evening at Plum + Spilt Milk. Although quiet when we arrived just after 6pm, the atmosphere in the restaurant picked up throughout the evening and, by the time we left, things felt very merry indeed. Kind of like the atmosphere you’d expect in one of the supremely luxurious dining carts aboard the Orient Express, or the like.
So while King’s Cross might not have been on your list of places to dine out – it should be now.