WIN­TER DIN­ING

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY VIC­TO­RIA PREVER

HIS­TOR­I­CALLY KINGS CROSS St Pan­cras was never some­where one chose to go. It was best known for its sta­tions and with a grim, grimy and a slightly shady rep­u­ta­tion. Re­gen­er­a­tion in the 1990s changed all that and, with the ar­rival of the Euro­tun­nel ter­mi­nal and Lon­don Col­lege of Fash­ion, the area has bloomed. There is a huge range of eater­ies — from su­per-hip to tra­di­tional English — so even if you’re not en route some­where or killing time be­fore a train, it’s worth the trip.

You can spend an en­tire de­li­cious day there — and still not cover my list of rec­om­men­da­tions.

For break­fast or brunch, try Plum and Spilt Milk at the Great North­ern Ho­tel — a glam­orous start.

En­joy in­dul­gent pas­tries, kip­pers and other cooked break­fast favourites or pace your­self with the healthy break­fast, which in­cludes quinoa por­ridge with soya, milk, blue­ber­ries and al­monds; buck­wheat crêpe with straw­ber­ries, agave syrup and lemon balm and smoked salmon, spelt muf­fin, steamed spinach and poached egg.

Each dish was pretty as a pic­ture and was per­fectly cooked. The set­ting, over­look­ing the re­vamped Kings Cross pi­azza, is quintessen­tially Lon­don. As a ho­tel din­ing room, ta­bles are oc­cu­pied by a mix­ture of tourists and busi­ness peo­ple, which makes it per­fect for a spe­cial break­fast — with a bit less guilt.

An­other trendy brunch venue — packed at week­ends — is Car­a­van, which sits on Gra­nary Square — a clus­ter of re­vamped ware­houses, one of which has been home to Cen­tral Saint Mar­tins since 2011.

The square is graced with chore­ographed foun­tains — fun for lit­tle ones (and not so lit­tle ones) on hot sum­mer days and en­tranc­ing even in win­ter — es­pe­cially at night when they are lit up in a rain­bow of colours.

Car­a­van, the big­ger (al­beit younger) sis­ter of Car­a­van at Ex­mouth Mar­ket is an in­dus­trial-style space with

plenty to look at while you sam­ple food from an eclec­tic range of cuisines.

The break­fast/brunch menu is served un­til 11.30am dur­ing the week and un­til 4pm at week­ends and ranges from baked goods (muffins/ scones/buns) through ce­real and fruit op­tions (por­ridge or fruit-and-nut gra­nola with berry com­pôte and co­conut yo­ghurt) to things on toast (cheese and onion jam; slow-roast toma­toes; av­o­ca­dos with chilli, lemon and olive oil).

Then there are the big­ger dishes: co­conut bread, lemon curd cream cheese and rhubarb; jalapeno corn bread with eggs, black beans and guindilla pep­per...

With a sim­i­larly di­verse all-day menu, you may choose to graze for hours but, if you can drag your­self away, do pop over to the sim­i­larly modish Grain Store.

Part of the Zet­ter ho­tel group and with chef Bruno Lou­bet plan­ning the menus, Grain Store is sold as be­ing all about the veg. It does give them star billing on the menu — all dishes lead with the veg­etable in­gre­di­ents — but fish gets a hefty sup­port­ing role.

Beetroot gnoc­chi, broc­col­ini, shal­lots and horse­rad­ish Béar­naise are com­ple­mented by sil­ver mul­let a la

plan­cha (grid­dled) and a Wal­dorf salad tart­let by smoked salmon.

There are many (re­ally in­ter­est­ing) veg­e­tar­ian op­tions — wild mushroom and Mont­gomery ched­dar cro­quettes with truf­fle salt or dried fava beans and kishk (dried yo­ghurt) soup with pome­gran­ate mo­lasses.

Pud­dings are sim­i­larly es­o­teric — “parsnip and white choco­late cream, puffed quinoa nouga­tine and matcha tea cit­rus gel” (one dish) reads like some­thing you might ap­ply to chapped hands, but it does work.

If you are more tra­di­tional, stay a lit­tle closer to the sta­tions and drop into Granger & Co — the north­ern­most Lon­don out­post of the grin­ning Aussie chef’s mini-chain, the other two be­ing in Not­ting Hill and Clerken­well. Huge win­dows and lines of brass footed bar stools give a sta­tion-café-meets­brasserie feel.

Food is healthy mod­ern Aussie — this means dishes such as Bondi bowl — a salad of buck­wheat, quinoa, golden beet, cour­gette, ta­mari pepi­tas (soy sauce-baked sun­flower seeds), goat’s yo­ghurt, feta and harissa; or Fresh Aussie — a sim­ple dish of tea-smoked salmon, poached eggs, greens, av­o­cado and cherry toma­toes.

For an evening drink with the young folks, try Drake and Mor­gan’s lively bar/restau­rant. The all-day menu of­fers sal­ads, “small plates” — from smoked salted al­monds and Ital­ian green olives to heir­loom toma­toes and

bur­rata (creamy moz­zarella) — as well as heftier dishes such as sea bass with lemon but­ter, Dover sole and hal­loumi burger. Ro­man fries come with truf­fle oil and parme­san (mor­eish) while cow­boy fries — with honey, chilli and gar­lic — are just too soggy to qual­ify as hum­ble potato chips. The cock­tail menu and wine list are ex­ten­sive.

If you’d rather end your day with teatime treats, you can find su­perb cakes at Le Pain Quo­ti­dien and Patis­serie Va­lerie. Or, for the full English ex­pe­ri­ence, Fort­num and Ma­son’s new­est off­shoot — the St Pan­cras restau­rant, is open all day and serves ful­lon af­ter­noon tea.

Kings Cross has cer­tainly be­come a desti­na­tion in its own right.

Break­fast on co­conut bread and lemon-curd cheese

Bar­be­cued pineap­ple at Drake and Mor­gan, (page WD3)

Granger & Co fea­tures eggs, harissa and kale (top right) and raw tuna and av­o­cado poke (right)

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