Much to many people’s surprise, finding a good place to eat in London is actually a lot harder than you might think.
Sure, the capital has endless options to choose from and an unparalleled food scene featuring menus from across the globe, but what about if you’ve just rolled into King’s Cross station and have never set foot in the jungle before?
Not to worry, this is where we come in and before you ask, yes it’s a hard job… kind of.
Speaking of one of the country’s biggest train stations, a few weeks ago, we popped into The Great Northern Hotel and its restaurant, Plum & Spilt Milk. It’s conveniently located on the corner of the same building, mere moments from the platforms.
Before we dig into the food, let’s talk cocktails.
Our journey begins in the hotel’s own bar, which has a small terrace with a guest takeover by The Botanist this summer, and has been gloriously decorated with a huge flower-covered arch (they’re not real but you can barely tell). The interior is even more beautiful.
The sun hits just right, with the service attentive and friendly. The drinks are delicious too; in honour of the Queen’s jubilee, we sample the Crown Jewel from the summer menu, a delectable concoction of pear and cognac liqueur, lemon juice, sugar syrup and champagne.
We also try a classic, a daiquiri, and it goes down a treat. The bar staff clearly know what they are doing.
Tipples down, it’s time to dine.
Dear reader, we hate telling you this (especially because Plum & Spilt Milk comes highly recommended) but the experience is something of a letdown. Let us explain.
The issue isn’t the food, really. The salad treviso is fresh and crisp, albeit a little too bitter; the poached sea bream is lush and the Picanha steak is by far the best dish on the small but decent menu.
But the venue is near-on empty.
We’re craving a fun atmosphere and long to return to the bar, which was packed with guests laughing and lapping up the sunshine.
The lack of guests affects us so much, it becomes our entire dinner conversation. And while the vegan passion fruit crème brûlée is utterly divine (we fight over the last piece) and the team are happy to chat, it’s not enough to lift the lack-lustre vibe.
That being said, it’s a weekday and it’s very possible that we’ve simply visited on an odd day.
Like we said, it’s difficult to find a good place to eat in London – but let’s give Plum + Spilt Milk the benefit of the doubt, just this once.