Decimo in Kings Cross: “Warm, punchy cuisine that’s capable of making anyone feel at home”
Located within luxury designer hotel The Standard, Decimo is Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’s first London venture. The acclaimed chef from Bristol, who runs Michelin-starred Casa Mia and Paco Tapas, has created a menu drawing from his family’s Spanish heritage and a passion for Mexican food. The result is a warm, punchy cuisine that provides both a source of relaxation at lunch and a means of spicing things up at dinner.
It’s a sunny day and we ask to sit close to the large window overlooking St Pancras station. The dining room is impressive, with design jewels such as red Magistretti chairs. The 12-seat bar doesn’t go unnoticed; you can imagine it being packed on a Friday night. While we look through the food offering, a diverse array of guests sit down at the tables around us: a party of long-time friends celebrating a birthday, talking about their career paths; a family of tourists, most likely staying at the hotel; a young couple busy taking pictures of each other holding drinks. Despite the vibe of exclusivity, it feels like a place where anyone can comfortably be themselves.
Technically the weekend lunch is labelled as brunch, but fear not, there’s an actual menu on offer, not one where *enter carb here* with egg and avocado is plastered all over the page. Margarita in hand – made from Tapatio Blanco tequila, Cointreau, Mexican key lime – we choose our dishes. Having recently been to Paco Tapas, we get a sense of what the must-orders are. First are the Croquetas de Jamón, perfectly crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside. Then the agave spirit in our mouths tell us that the lamb and baja (fish) tacos are necessary for this meal. In fact, these two proper tortillas – you can tell they are nixtamalised – are an absolute joy: first the lightness of the fish, then the intensity of the smoky lamb. If a cart served these on the street, you’d know where to find me at 1pm every other day.
The (Spanish) tortilla is arguably the signature dish. It’s simply an egg and potato omelette, but making it perfect is all but simple. The edges need to be nicely rounded; the surface beautifully golden; and the centre curd-like. The flavour, it goes without saying, has to sing. Another Iberian classic is red prawns à la plancha. They come in threes and will make your hands messy, but they are more than worth the effort. Pro tip: order some bread and squeeze all the heads onto it – that juice is like gold.
An excellent, succulent Mangalitza Pork (such a gorgeous creature, I suggest doing a web search immediately) keeps the bar of this brunch high, the only disappointment being the overly spicy Iberico Pork Skewers that come next. We enjoy the latter part of our stay with a glass of white Benje 2018 from Tenerife, made by Envínate from Listan Blanco grapes – highly recommended – and a mencia Quite 2019 by Verónica Ortega.
Any meal should end on a sweet note, and ours follows suit with a classic Crema Catalana. And if you aren’t a dessert person, you could always play with the blowtorched crunchy top. Jokes aside, it’s delicious.
Decimo delivers simple yet fine food in a unique environment that is cool but capable of making anyone feel at home. And on Saturdays, starting from next month, the Live on Ten series resumes with live music during brunch. But here’s the most important tip: if it’s a sunny day, go and check out the rooftop terrace.
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
To book a table at Decimo, 10 Argyle Street London WC1H 8EG, call 020 3981 8888 or visit here.