Drake and Morgan in King’s Cross
The freshest offering to King’s Cross’ buzzing restaurant scene is the new Drake and Morgan, the latest addition to its chain of well-loved restaurants and bars dotted around central London.
Nestled between office blocks and construction sites heavy with imposing cranes, this new restaurant located in Pancras Square seems like a gem in a concrete jungle. With an inviting outdoor seating area fully equipped with blankets to keep Londoners warm on these cold autumn nights, this place aims to please.
Stepping inside, we are met with contemporary design showing off a funky, retro feel, full of iron detailing, low-hanging lights and vented ceiling pipes. Large, impressive windows and a warm glow escaping from the many light installations create a pleasantly cosy and romantic feel, despite the vastness of the venue. Dishes coming out of the kitchen every few seconds and an enthusiastic “yes chef” add to the happening atmosphere.
We opt for the Crab Fritters, made with sweetcorn and chilli, accompanied by watercress and a dipping sauce. Despite appearing light on the plate, these small bites are surprisingly greasy, having absorbed an unwelcome amount of oil in their cooking process. In addition to lacking in flavour, their accompanying sauce has an artificial, citrus taste, which is unpleasantly sweet.
The Peppered Goat’s Cheese with Watermelon and Almonds is also poorly received, lacking the sweet and savoury combination and the contrast of textures expected. Instead, we find that the melon is too watery, with very little flavour, while the soft goat’s cheese is of poor, supermarket quality.
Despite this disappointing start, we remain hopeful for our next course, and the 8oz Fillet Steak is surprisingly good. Coated in a lovely char from the grill, the meat is tender and lean. The exterior’s delicate bitterness adds hints of smokiness and is perfectly accompanied by a rich béarnaise sauce. A steak would be nothing without pommes frites or, in this case, Drake and Morgan’s Trio of Fries, including their Sweet Potato Fries, Cowboy Fries and Roman Fries. The first are as expected, crunchy on the outside with a soft centre. The Cowboy Fries, drizzled with honey, chilli and garlic, taste like a glorified barbecue sauce, while the Roman Fries have all the earthy saltiness promised by the umami taste of parmesan, rosemary sprigs and the earthiness of truffle shavings.
Our chosen side of Roasted Beets with a walnut pesto is unusual, with the typical sweetness of the root vegetable suppressed under a heavy sprinkling of cheesy, crunchy pesto that is rendered bitter by the walnut skins.
The Lobster Mac and Cheese with an Onion Crumb promises all that we expect from fatty comfort food: to be creamy, filling and indulgent. The result, however, is unfortunately not up to our expectations. The overcooked macaroni contains a few morsels of lobster in an otherwise unidentifiable sauce that hints at no particular fish.
To finish our meal, we decide upon the Cappuccino Semifreddo. Presented in a coffee cup and topped with a foamed milk and chocolate sprinkles, the chilled cream is sweet, with a strong kick of coffee. The cinnamon-sugar doughnuts appear as an afterthought to the dessert, with three miniature balls that are excessively doughy and would be better left off the plate. The BBQ Pineapple adds an original interpretation to a classic combination, with delicious, charred pineapple accompanied by refreshing coconut sorbet, fresh passion fruit and a lovely sprinkling of fresh mint leaves.
The new Drake and Morgan attempts to take its dishes to the next level, with unusual flavour combinations as well as comfort food. Yet, with generally poor execution, this place leaves little to come back for in terms of dining. However, the vibrant atmosphere within, pleasant service from knowledgeable and friendly staff, the live DJ downstairs and the beautiful décor should encourage customers to return regularly, if not for a full meal then certainly for a few after-work drinks and a night out at the cocktail bar.★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
To book a table at Drake and Morgan, 6 Pancras Square London N1C 4AG, call 0845 468 0107 or visit here.