As the leading food and drink agency with 36 years’ experience in foodservice, we know a thing or two about eating out. But as they say, every day is a school day and what better kind of school day than a trip out in the sunshine to see what culinary delights Kings Cross has to offer?
It has to be said that The Lumina Food Study Tour is the perfect marriage of work and pleasure, as strictly speaking, the afternoon session is all solid real-world insight into eating and drinking out-of-home trends, keeping up to date with the latest foodservice menu developments and immersing ourselves in the eating out market.
The good news is to the untrained eye it looks very much like a great bunch of people eating their way around some amazing restaurants whilst getting to know each other and comparing notes on some stunning food. Frankly, there are worse ways to spend an afternoon in London. Here is a fly through of the afternoon…
This Levantine-inspired cuisine started off in Borough Market before opening this airy Kings Cross restaurant in 2019. It offers a range of authentic sharing plates using high-quality ethically sourced ingredients. More than a restaurant, Arabica also has a wholesale business and catering service – very omnichannel!
- Authentic Levantine
- Sustainably Sourced
- Small and large sharing dishes
My highlight- the Berber spiced cauliflower & baked pita with humous
As a big fan of a bao bun, I was very happy to see this on the list. This all-day dining concept is part of the BAO brand and offers Taiwanese dishes inspired by Yōshoku cuisine (an interpretation of Western food as seen through an Asian lens). This makes it a little different from the other 5 BAO sites, as does its focus on food to go with its bakery counter (including its signature sad face boa bun) to service the local offices, with Google and many more just a stone’s throw away.
- Nostalgic 60’s/ 70’s décor
- Simple, quality focus
- Authentic Taiwanese
- Artisan wines
- Food and drink pairings
My Highlight: Without a doubt the Horlicks ice cream on fried BAO (out of this world!)
With rave reviews from Jay Raynor and Nigella Lawson, we knew this would be something special and we weren’t disappointed! The last stop before heading for a ‘well-earned’ drink at Babel Beerhousewe were treated to not only an amazing array of Southern Thai dishes inspired by chef Wichet Khogphoon but also some stunning cocktails (watchout for the spicy margarita – it is certainly that!). We were all very impressed with the quality and variety of the food which was more than generous. If you love authentic Thai food, you’ll love this hidden gem.
- Authentic Southern Thai
- Sharing plates
My Highlight: Dad’s Beef Curry – although it was all delicious
Is the home of finger donuts. Made with high-end patisserie fillings these artisan donuts are a step up from your average Bart Simpson fare. Their ever-changing seasonal menu of donuts features sustainably sourced ethical ingredients and quirky flavour combinations including Panadan coconut, raspberry rose lychee, tiramisu and peanut butter jelly.
- Trend: Seasonal
- Premium / treat
- Artisan bakery
My Highlight: The classic peanut butter jelly
The tour also did a walk-by of the following:
Ruby Violet – Small-batch ice creams and desserts made from organic milk and fresh ingredients sourced locally or from small batch producers. Available to order online if you’re not near Kings Cross or Tufnel Park.
Babel Beerhouse – Where the day ended, this all-day and evening destination has a hop-driven menu featuring a huge array of craft beers and, in a bid to diversify its offering, ‘hop-desking’ with a co-working space for £10 that includes unlimited tea and coffee and a pint for lunch!
Sons + Daughters – Gourmet sandwiches with unusual and premium ingredients with elevated classics using local suppliers. Also, now in Borough Market (Stoney St).
Hicce – British food with a Japanese and Nordic twist! Hicce (pronounced ee-chay) is situated in Wolf & Badger fashion store and offers premium woodfired, steamed, fermented and pickled small plates made to share along with organic and biodynamic wines.
Morty & Bob’s – Morty & Bob’s takes the grilled cheese sandwich to the next level with artisan breads, fancy cheeses and the addition of anything from roasted mushroom and truffle to nduja, not to mention the Aged HG Walter bavette steak sandwich – the ultimate in elevated comfort food!
Casa Pastor – Part of the El Pastor restaurant group, this authentic Mexican concept marries handmade tacos with tequila for an experiential dining concept you won’t want to miss.
As you can see Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross is quite the foodie hot spot!
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