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Rotunda Restaurant – King’s Cross at its best:
What was once the wasteland sprawl of an overgrown railway station around King’s Cross is now a complex of shops, offices and restaurants . Kings Place turned out to be somewhere I’m actually embarrassed I hadn’t found before – a new privately funded arts centre, complete with the first new concert hall since the opening of the Barbican centre, visual arts spaces and the Rotunda Restaurant. It’s a glorious place – pristine, purpose-built and impressive from the moment you walk through the doors. And, although I haven’t been there for a concert, I’m wondering why not since there are some stunning artists lined up for the next few months – from jazz and world music to classical.
My invitation, though, was actually to the main restaurant for the Arts Centre, The Rotunda. It’s a charming space looking out over the King’s Cross Canals and with a pretty waterside terrace. I was impressed by the design, by having a central round bar and tables around the outside it’s clear that even if the place is really busy, it won’t feel crowded. There was a large group on the table next door to us but, thanks to a clever layout, they really didn’t impact on our meal.
Food, according to the Rotunda website, is a seasonal, modern British menu that features mouth-watering meat cuts from their own farm in Northumberland and fresh fish caught earlier that very day. We were keen to see if Rotunda could deliver against that promise. We started with a bread basket and butter, both pleasant and well presented, while we picked our food.
My companion chose the creamed goats cheese which came with pea-shoots, redcurrants, figs and peach. It looked stunning on the plate but somehow didn’t quite work for him,
My Cornish crab with endive and baby leaf salad risked some kind of violation of trades description charge. It was, without doubt, the largest small plate I’ve ever seen, though much of it was healthy salad leaves. It was delicious and, as someone who is quite capable of eating two main courses if necessary, I managed to eat the whole thing. Another time though I’d have ordered one between two!
Rotunda really came into its own with the main course we ordered to share. The restaurant sources its meat from their own farm in Corneyside, Northumberland and then hangs and dry ages it on-site. So, it seemed mandatory to pick the Cote de Boeuf, though I did switch the macaroni cheese for fries.
The meat definitely lived up to its promise – succulent and well flavoured. Served with a home made bearnaise sauce, fries and some buttered spinach it was an excellent main course that I’d order again in a shot. It’s not a cheap option at £65 for two, but it is substantial enough that you really don’t need a starter as well.
We were somewhat defeated by the Cote de Boeuf, though not a trace remained on the board and ended up sharing the tart of the day for dessert which I believe was pecan. A sticky toffee nutty mixture, I’d have loved to have had space for a full portion…
In the interest of research my companion ordered a coffee martini and was delighted by the rich and not overly sweet result. Meanwhile, all I could do was sip on a fine cup of fresh black coffee and wonder why I hadn’t heard of Rotunda before.
Apart from the small plates, the steaks and farm classics and ‘large plates’ which include vegetarian and pescatarian options, Rotunda has a set menu available at lunch and pre-theatre (up to 7.30pm) with two courses of £19.50 and three for £24.50. Definitely worth considering whether you are there to see a concert or just happen to want somewhere to eat!
Kings Place, 90 York Way,
Kings Cross, London N1 9AG
T: 020 7014 2840