Rotunda – Edouard Brun Champagne Dinner

ROTUNDA

Rotunda is a bar and restaurant located at King’s Place, Kings Cross, so named as it is semi-circular in its layout. Situated right on Regent’s Canal, Rotunda is perfectly situated for some waterside drinking and dining. In the summer months Rotunda’s outdoor terrace opens up with deck chairs and an outside gin bar. The BBQ is fired up for some hearty meaty cooking as well.

Rotunda also has a private dining room where themed nights are held throughout the year. These are open to the public for bookings and I recently attended an Edouard Brun champagne dinner in the private dining room. This proved to be great fun with the menu designed around the champagnes. Edouard Brun is a family champagne house founded in 1898, with management of the house having been passed down through the generations. Located in the heart of Champagne, Edouard Brun maintains its quality standards by tasting each tank after fermentation and performing all blending in-house.

The first course was a lobster roll with tarragon mayonnaise and crispy lettuce. The lobster was a little salty, but it was still tasty and juicy, with the bun being soft and tasty. The accompanying champagne was the Edouard Brun 1er Cru, a fruity and well-rounded champagne made from 75% pinot noir and 25% chardonnay. It had a strong body and therefore paired well with the lobster.

Rotunda - London Food Blog - Lobster roll

Rotunda – Lobster roll

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Grain Store

Grain Store is the latest restaurant by French born chef Bruno Loubet who brought us the successful Bistrot Bruno Loubet in Clerkenwell, a restaurant that celebrates modern French bistro classics. But the emphasis at Grain Store is different with a strong focus on earthy seasonal vegetables. Although it makes good use of meat and seafood there are also lots of lovely vegetarian options. Grain Store is not a vegetarian restaurant, but a vegetarian would definitely not go hungry here. The menu is vibrant and interesting and tells a tale of seasonality and refreshing earthiness.

Grain Store occupies a massive space in a former warehouse in Granary Square, right next to Caravan. It’s an inviting restaurant with the décor being as engaging as the menu. There’s an open kitchen, white woodwork, whitewashed brick walls and quirky touches that make the restaurant interesting. There was also a good cocktail selection and we thoroughly enjoyed the Babydoll (£8.50) with rum, rhubarb syrup, orgeat, violet essence, lemon juice and egg white as it was delicious.

A light pea mousse tartlet (£9) was gorgeous as the pastry was crispy and thin and the pea mousse filling was as light as a feather. The tartlett would have been better warm rather than cold, but it was nevertheless delicious, especially with a topping of shaved summer truffle and parmesan.

Grain Store - Pea mousse tartlet

Pea mousse tartlet

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Skip Garden by Global Generation

Skip Garden

Skip Garden

The Skip Garden was established in 2009 by Global Generation, a charity launched in 2004 whose core purpose is to inspire and empower young people to develop a living relationship with the natural world and to take a lead in generating positive environmental and social change in their communities.

The Skip Garden is the base for the Global Generation’s youth work programme and is located within the King’s Cross development site. It is a portable urban garden where a variety of organic vegetables, herbs and fruits are grown out of both skips and polytunnels made out of reused materials from the surrounding construction site. It is at the garden that the young people are trained in leadership and accredited vocational business and horticultural programmes, whether it be working on the garden or building furniture.

One of the skips in the Skip Garden

One of the skips in the Skip Garden

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Caravan King’s Cross

The shabby area behind King’s Cross use to house the late night clubbing set. But in recent times this has been regenerated into something unrecognisable. Gone is the dinginess, and in its place is a rejuvenated Granary Square laden with fountains and a reinvigorated Granary Building. A Grade II listed structure; the Granary Building plays home to the Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design as well as Caravan King’s Cross, the second branch of the Caravan restaurants (the original being on Exmouth Market).

The interior of Caravan King’s Cross is as gorgeous as the luminous façade of the Granary Building. It smacks of industrial warehouse glam and is modern and striking. The airy ceiling space gives it a heightened sense of chic, and the restaurant does well to create the promise of an edgy New York dining experience. It’s the kind of place that immediately draws you in as you walk through the door. But where the restaurant comes up trumps in terms of design, it conversely falls short on the food. The menu possessed hints of creativity but unfortunately the cooking was left somewhat wanting.

A starter of mackerel fillets (£6.50) was nicely cooked and moist, albeit a little salty. It came with a creative combination of seaweed, cucumber, sesame and a moromi miso dressing, but it too, was over seasoned. Shame really as this could have been a rather nice dish.

Mackerel fillet

Mackerel fillet

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Karpo

Karpo is the Greek goddess of the fruits of the earth, and its namesake restaurant in the Megaro Hotel pays tribute to this fact by compiling a menu that relies on seasonable and sustainable ingredients. An all day bistro, the composition of the dishes draws on an eclectic mix of influences. There’s the touch of the Italian with offerings such as burrata, blood orange and puntarella, but there’s also a sprinkling of the Americana with the likes of Southern fried quail. Situated across the road from King’s Cross Station, it’s not located in the most auspicious location. Nor did the eco/urban design of the restaurant feel particularly trendy, with the mix of concrete, wood flooring and an eco wall hung with a stretch of plants being rather unconventional.

Karpo didn’t generate a great sense of warmth for me when I first walked in, but one bite of the food and I was sold. A starter of Cornish scallops (£10) was delicious, although less cooking time would have given it a more opaque centre. Accompaniments of chargrilled leeks were tasty and a potato purée was wonderfully creamy, both of which worked well with the scallops. But the most winning aspect of this dish was the fantastic stock reduction finished with balsamic vinegar that gave the sauce both depth, intensity and sweetness.

Cornish scallops

Cornish scallops

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