LONDON: Young people are chilling out on the steps to the canal. At Granary Square dancing fountains are bruising the night violet and turquoise. Inside the former warehouse a French Chef is serving veg-centric food. An urban renewal and foodie revolution is well under way in King’s Cross.
King’s Cross is dominated by the impressive St Pancras railway station, arguably one of the most impressive stations in the world – with Eurostar service as the gateway to Europe. The revitalised area is luring some of the biggest names in London’s foodie scene to establish King’s Cross as a new dining destination in North London. Google and University of the Arts London are here to stay.
Up to date. King’s Cross was one of London’s poorest districts and the playground of Dickens` Oliver Twist. Not long ago feared for its drugs and prostitution. After a huge redevelopment the area now is up to date and home to cultural institutions, including The British Library, King’s Place, Gagosian Art Gallery, Central Saint Martins and London Canal Museum. Less than 10 years ago this area was dangerous, now people are moving in to work and study on a large scale.
Here to stay. St Pancras Renaissance Hotel Spa is part of the grand Eurostar relocation. The Hotel’s spa was inspired by the surroundings, drawing up the great train journeys that set off from St Pancras. They provide a blend of treatments from around the world.
Book hotel here: St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.
Food with Friends. London has caught up with the rest of the world as far as sharing food goes. Tapas and meze-style eating is rediscovered and popular. The tide is turning and there are more and more casual eateries where you can get great food, great value and have a laugh. At King’s Cross you get plenty of food tasting, such as Yalla Yalla serving superior Lebanese street food from a kiosk on the mezzanine level of King’s Cross station, a restaurant which already has two outlets in London – the original in Soho and a sister venue just off Oxford Circus.
Foodie Nirvana. Whatever you hunger for there is a food trail for small plates to follow, step-by-step and bite-by-bite. At Camino (The Regent Quarter, 3 Varnishers Yard) and Bar Pepito they serve authentic Spanish tapas and wine. The head chef at Camino cooks up a choice of traditional tapas, jamon and dishes from Mallorca to Madrid, mostly on a vast charcoal grill. Bar Pepito (Address: 3 Varnishers Yard N1) is an intimate Andalucian bodega specializing in sherry and the best food traditions from Jerez.
Grain Store. Chef Bruno Loubet loves beetroot, goat milk, peas, runner beans and Roquefort or smoked pepper jelly here and there – and tamale filled with a nutty mush of quinoa and sweet corn served with pork belly and a jug of gazpacho salsa. Both the food and the menu in the cocktail bar feel very much forward thinking. French Loubet insists the food isn’t vegetarian, rather more “veg-centric”, served in the former warehouse with an open kitchen. My score is 8 out of 10. Grain Store, Granary Square. Open all week. Three courses about 40-45 Euro. www.grainstore.com
Meet people. Trendy Megaro Bar is a photo-themed bar with a ”dark room”. Cocktails are reasonable at around 11 euro (9 pound). Try the well-balanced, foamy and lemony Cocktail Lavender. Maximum booking for six people. Find it: 23-27 Euston Road, King’s Cross, NW1, megarobar.co.uk
Night out. The Lexington is both a music venue and an English pub – a great venue to see a band and one of the best places to go out in King’s Cross. Here is an American bar serving lots of bourbon brands and American beers. Address: 96-98 Pentonville Road.
Scala has its charm and here people have seen series of soon-to-be-famous bands, including Foo Fighters and Suede. The old cinema works well as the nightclub to watch the bands. Address: 275 Pentonville Road, Kings Cross.
Make it Happen!
Touch Down: King’s Cross railway station is a major London finishing point in the London Borough of Camden. Kings Cross St Pancras tube station is served by more lines than any other station and is one of the busiest. Travel direct to the very heart of the European cities of Paris, Brussels and Lille with high-speed Eurostar services.
Stay: A range of accommodation options to suit every budget. We recommend stepping inside St Pancras Renaissance Hotel – a 5-star hotel that mingles Victorian splendour with contemporary style.
Eat: Grain Store, see above
Play: Shopping. Sourced Market is located in the train station and gives continental visitors from the Eurostar a pleasant surprise on arrival and the commuters to pick up delicious items on their way to the office or before catching the train home. For more information visit www.sourcedmarket.com
Mini Guide: New King’s Cross provides a city breaks to tell your friends about. This is the sort of places that you’ll want to revisit in order to discover more secrets.