King’s Cross St Pancras is now an incredible haven of fantastic shops, breath taking bars, beautiful hotels and impressive restaurants, one of which is the soon to be year old Plum + Spilt Milk headed by top chef Mark Sargeant, who was formerly head chef at the once Michelin starred Claridges under Gordon Ramsey.
We visited this beautifully decorated railway dining room on Saturday evening, managing to get the final table for 2 very last minute. The facade of the building is very modern, and the attractive decor continues inside as you ascend the stairs up to the mood lit restaurant. Multiple lightbulbs in what look like upturned wine glasses hang from the ceiling, while many of the tables hold plum filled centre pieces. The ambiance is both romantic and professional, making this an ideal place for both a business meeting or a date, or even just a casual dinner with friends. For the reason that the ambiance was so lovely and I didn’t want to disturb the other diners with flashes from my camera, I haven’t got any of my own photos of our food, and the photos used are taken from their social media sites. Apologies, but there is a time and a place for photographing your meal and this, unfortunately for my blog, was not one of them. I’ll tell you now though, all the food looked as beautiful as our surroundings.
I don’t think i’ve ever pondered over a menu for so long before, or changed my mind quite so many times. Too many of the dishes were tempting us, and so we ordered ourselves some nibbles whilst still trying to decide on the rest of our meal. The appetisers were priced at £3 each, so we opted for a pot of cockles (splashed with vinegar to taste) and some marinated Folkstone whelks (a taste of my childhood right there!) The whelks were huge and meaty, with a great flavour. I’d definitely recommend starting your meal with a pot of those, but avoid eating the accompanying onion slices – they pack a strong kick!
We finally chose what we’d like to eat for the rest of the meal, and after ordering ourselves a beautiful bottle of red (Nero d’Avola Caleo 2011 – £24) we placed our food orders. I chose to start with Salt Beef on Toast with Capers & Shallots (£8.25), and to continue with a main of Grilled Squid, Chilli, Garlic & Almonds (£16.50) while Josh opted for Devilled Lamb’s Kidneys on Toast (£8) and a large main of Steak Tartare with fries and salad.
My Salt Beef was exquisite. So tender, to the point where it almost tasted creamy on the tongue. The capers were nicely pickled and the flakes of radish brought all the flavours together. Even the toast tasted fantastic, and was buttered generously, along with a layer of horseradish. I could have easily enjoyed a second helping of this beautiful starter, but equally so, I could also have enjoyed a sizeable helping of Josh’s Devilled Kidneys which were juicy, meaty and bursting with flavour; nothing like the dry, flavourless kidneys i’ve tried elsewhere before.
Needless to say, this was a superb start to our meal and we were already planning our return for another occasion, but half an hour later we were still waiting for our mains. Due to a technological issue with the ordering system, the kitchen had fallen behind schedule – a shame as our excitement from the starters had warn off by the time they finally arrived, but it wasn’t long before it returned as the dishes were both fantastic. My squid, although initially a little bit chewy, was bursting with flavour from the accompanying chilli and garlic sauce which had a sweet tang to it, and the texture of the almonds brought another dimension to the plate. Josh’s Steak Tartare on the other hand was beautifully flavoured with an undertone of BBQ and a sweet, rich tomato sauce. Josh thought it could have done with a bit more tabasco for his taste, but for me it contained just the right amount of spice. If anything though the BBQ flavour could have been toned down a little more. The paprika fries that accompanied were great – crisp and just the right amount of paprika not to make it overpowering. The salad was huge; definitely a portion big enough for two.
Although we’d already eaten a very large meal and really, we didn’t need a dessert, the Baked Alaska with mango and passion fruit was too tempting to pass up. Priced at £13.50 for 2 (the same as Tom’s Kitchen, the Baked Alaska upon which we compare all other Baked Alaskas) this pudding came with a side pot of mango and passion fruit coulis which was thick, sweet and filled with great sized chunks of mango. I could have had a soup of this alone. The Alaska arrived big and fluffy, and the spectacle of setting fire to it took place at our table. When it came to serving however, we had to dish out ourselves, and unfortunately this proved difficult as the ice-cream was too frozen to cut! After a few minutes of using most of his strength to divide up the portions, we dug in. The flavours were beautiful, and the meringue was soft and sweet, but the proportions were all wrong! The ratio of ice-cream to meringue wasn’t right – far too much ice cream, and I could hardly taste the sponge cake! And for my taste, not nearly enough booze was poured on top for my liking. Had the ratios been right, this would almost certainly have been able to beat Tom in the battle for best Baked Alaska. But alas, it was not to be.
In spite of a long wait in the middle of our meal, we were both very impressed with this fantastic restaurant. The food was all fantastic (only a few improvements required) and the service was friendly and attentive – our waiter Saul was a gem at handling the issue with the late food (earning back the service charge that was removed from our bill for the inconvenience!) and we will without doubt be returning to dine again. I’m desperate to try their breakfasts, or maybe their 45 minute express lunch next time. I’m already looking forward to it.