Plum and Spilt Milk, King’s Cross St Pancras
Train stations on the whole have a good romantic pedigree. King’s Cross however does not. Once written off as a haunt of perverts, shifty-eyed ravers and tourists haemorrhaging morale in O’Neills, the multi-million pound regeneration project has been a rather uncharacteristic triumph. Having glossed over its insalubrious past, King’s Cross St. Pancras has somehow emerged from its chrysalis as a credible date location: notably Plum and Spilt Milk at the Great Northern Hotel.
We’re British please: uncomplicated indulgence, in leather and wood panelling. Sit, just touching, on the corner banquette with the floor to ceiling window overlooking St. Pancras clock tower, requisite nod to Brief Encounter. The restaurant is open from dawn to midnight, so take advantage of arriving a little later for a more intimate evening.
Start with cocktails. I had a twist on a Negroni, she went for a Chilli Lychee Martini – both came with a welcome kick to ease through any early date jitters.
The menu focuses on the classics – from boeuf bourguignon to garlic chilli squid – which perhaps make strange bedfellows, but you’ll find it in-keeping with the pragmatic atmosphere from the mix of travellers, business men, hotel guests and locals. Share a plate of charcuterie to start, or go for it with a glut of Maldon Native Oysters. For mains we had lemon sole and chilli squid and drank freely from the fine wine list – not necessarily a bad thing on a first date. Finish off with lemon cheesecake, or go for the eponymous Plum and Spilt Milk.
Meet in Granary Square to watch the fountain at sunset – sure it’s no water show at the Bellagio but it ain’t half bad. Then, stroll down to the hotel, avoiding the commuter throng. The Great Northern walks a fine line between providing a pit stop and a destination in its own right. With all watering holes in stations or airports, gateway boozers offer lack of accountability for the punter, meaning later in the evening things can get a little ropey. So, head straight up to the restaurant and you will be rewarded. Plum and Spilt Milk works well for a first date, but I see it really flourishing as a second or third – note the hotel rooms on hand.
The station’s seedy past may be out of sight, but it is not out of mind just yet.
Sophisticated, alcoholic, indulgent – 4.