In the past, you probably would not have dreamt of going out for a fine meal in King’s Cross, as it was not the most friendly of London districts. However, today, after an ambitious redevelopment, the area has gained a regal grandeur worthy of its name and is now brimming with bars, restaurants, galleries, shops, and swanky hotels.
As you step out of King’s Cross station, you see the German Gymnasium Grand Café just across the road, which was the first purpose-built gymnasium in England. To your relief, there are no climbing ropes or barbells in sight. You and your date take a seat on the ground floor, where you have the perfect view of the spectacular staircase to the restaurant and private dining area upstairs. You go for the Kaffee & Kuchen, a German tradition and a great excuse to dig into a sweet and authentic 400-year-old ritual. You can’t decide between the Apfelstrudel and the Sachertorte and decide to order both to share—or, at least, you intend to share. You feel a bit naughty and order the Pharisäer Coffee that comes with a splash of dark Jamaican rum and a generous topping of whipped cream. Now it’s time to leave, as running late doesn’t count as exercise!
After this delectable treat, you continue your way towards King’s Boulevard, a wide pedestrian lane that’s lined with bars and restaurants. You take a seat by Regent’s Canal and watch the colourful narrow boats slide by, imagining the barges that once docked there to unload their goods. Behind you, in Granary Square, fountain installations perform carefully programmed choreographies from 1,080 individual jets of water. If the sun is shining, take off your shoes and refresh your feet.
You grab your date by the arm and go inside Granary Building, now home to the world-renowned Central Saint Martins Arts College and some superb restaurants. If you’re in the mood for sharing different smaller platters, then Caravan is the obvious choice. You sit yourself down at one of the extremely long tables from where you have a view of the large open kitchen. You go for the braised lamb, which is so tender it just melts in your mouth, and the Indian-style crab served with dal and tomato kasundi: a stupendously spiced tomato chutney. Caravan takes pride in their on-site roasted coffee, and once you’ve had a sip of this delicious black gold, you fully understand why.
Just beside Caravan, you find the equally popular restaurant Grain Store, an excellent choice for meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike. From smoked, pickled, fermented, and countless variations, veggie delights take centre stage. Again, this restaurant has an open kitchen, and there’s a good chance you’ll see Bruno Loubet himself, one of Britain’s most exciting chefs, at work in there. Tuck into one of the many mouthwatering dishes on the menu, such as the crisp dehydrated vegetables with wood pigeon and pair your meal with a thirst-quenching pint of beer from a local brewery.
Do you fancy Indian food, perhaps? Then head over to the highly popular restaurant Dishoom, which serves scrumptious Indian street food. Stepping inside feels like stepping into an authentic Bombay café with great vintage interiors. You order a comforting, spicy chai and a freshly baked naan filled with spicy charred chicken and tomato chilli jam.
Outside Granary Building, you can visit the food market KERB in Lewis Cubitt Square in spring and summer and see performances on the outdoor stage. End your culinary date with a romantic walk under the moonlit sky through Gasholder No. 8, a unique patch of city green set in one of the iconic gasholders that once dominated London’s skyline. When it’s time to call it a night, be sure to check in at the Rough Luxe Hotel in King’s Cross and make your stay in one of most exciting of London districts a perfect one!