Plum + Spilt Milk in King’s CrossCultureFood & DrinksRestaurant & bar reviews
Situated opposite St. Pancras International station, its entrance cloaked by a queue of vehicles at a busy taxi rank, the Grade 2-listed Great Northern Hotel rises inconspicuously to watch over the bustle of Pancras Road. The Victorian building should jarr alongside its modern neighbour, the Western concourse of King’s Cross Station, yet the entrance to the luxury hotel is easy to miss: a paradox created by a multi-million-pound regeneration project where old and new architecture seamlessly combine to form an unobtrusive landscape.
Within this historical site lies Plum + Spilt Milk, the hotel’s airy restaurant specialising in traditional British grub, which was recently taken over by Michelin-starred chef Mark Sargeant. Teal walls, dark-lacquered wood, cream banquettes and gold accents denote an old-fashioned luxury reflecting the building’s magnificent history as Britain’s first railway hotel.
Following tasty, yet disappointing, appetisers – Broad Beans with Mint Sea Salt needed a citrus kick, while a greasy Yorkshire Pudding with Roast Garlic let down a smooth, creamy purée – the rest of the meal garnered high praise.
Starters of Roast Beets, Walnuts & Cashel Blue and Dressed Dorset Crab were both beautifully presented and the candied nuts offered a delightful contrast to the acidic beets and rich cheese. The crab, served in its shell, was a delicious mix of white and dark meat, accompanied by thickly-sliced toast and tangy mayonnaise.
Mains of Pan-fried Dover Sole with Seaweed Butter and 32-Day-Aged Angus Sirloin were superb. The fresh fish was topped with discs of butter and red samphire, releasing the aroma of the sea as they melted into a delicate sauce. The steak, served with a sweet, caramelised shallot and a buttery béarnaise sauce, was perfectly tender.
A side dish of purple, yellow and orange Carrots with Coriander had bite and flavour, Beef Dripping Chips were just as they should be – golden, crunchy and fluffy in the centre – and a dry Steamed Cauliflower with Breadcrumbs was saved by addictive croutons.
Baked Alaska with Marinated Cherries (for 2 people) was spectacular. The dessert of cherry ripple ice cream encased in light sponge and meringue was flambéed at the table following a dousing of Kirsch. Containing chewy pieces of honeycomb and served with an alcoholic, cherry-studded coulis, the combination of flavours and textures was outstanding. A Lemon Posset with Raspberries also tasted sublime, with sweetened lemon balanced nicely by a slight sharpness.
The wine list was extensive, but cocktails seemed fitting; the whisky and pineapple-based 1854 was created to commemorate the hotel’s founding year, refreshing King’s Garden contained mint and cucumber from the venue’s own garden and Lady Violet, a medley of champagne and raspberry liqueur, is named after the original hotel’s smoking room for ladies (a world first).
Despite its odd name, taken from the oldest dining car in the world which was painted in the railway’s livery colours, Plum + Spilt Milk offers an unforgettable experience with its first class, conventional British dishes of exceptional taste and quality.
Photos: Monika Jørgesen
Plum + Spilt Milk: 55/60
Book your table at Plum + Spilt Milk, Great Northern Hotel, King’s Cross Station, London, N1C 4TB. For reservations, call 020 3388 0818 or visit here.