I seem to be making a habit of getting lost in London at the moment (mostly thanks, or perhaps no thanks to Citymapper!) – the latest navigation fail was trying to find VOC Grill in King’s Cross. I was meeting my buddy Charlotte who I first met a year ago when she was doing the PR for Barber’s cheese. People who like cheese are always good people 😉 I eventually found the bar and restaurant – it was tucked away in a courtyard next to Camino, unfortunately not very well signposted, unless I was just being silly. But then Charlotte encountered the exact same issue, so maybe it’s not just me!
The website for VOC Grill really intrigued me – it describes itself as having a homely, speakeasy-style feel, and the cocktails just looked insanely good! It was a Thursday night (and surprisingly dry!) so it was packed outside with people having post work drinks. On arrival it was smaller than I was expecting, but that’s often a good thing, especially if the aim is to be a cosy venue. Downstairs the bar area was busy and bustling, and I was led up some stairs to a quaint restaurant area, that you might not even notice was there if you were just visiting for a few drinks, it was tucked away out of sight.
The cocktail menu was seriously impressive, each one sounded very unique. I started with a Rack Punch – ceylon arrack rested with citrus oils, coriander seed, clove & cinnamon. The menu said that it was ‘served straight from flowing bowl’ so I was a bit disappointed to find it was brought to me in a standard glass on a tray. If I’m honest I have no idea what ‘served straight from flowing bowl’ really means, but the cocktail photos on the website looked so flamboyant that I was expecting a bit more. That said, it was absolutely delicious, with flavours I’ve definitely never tried before together in a drink.
The menu was small, but again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing either. As they say, good things come in small packages! (I’m not sure who exactly said that, but you get my drift)… Charlotte and I ordered the olives in garlic and oil, and the halloumi with hummus and pitta bread. The starter options weren’t the most creative, but it was all very tasty, and I’m always going to love a bit of halloumi!
For mains, you have a choice of salads, burgers and steaks, and I’d been hearing such good things about the latter (steaks are sourced from butchers Allens of Mayfair) that we both ordered a Sirloin each, with some onion rings.When it came out, it was undoubtedly the most decorated steak I’ve ever ordered – I’m always a bit nervous ordering a steak when writing about it on here, as it’s not the most attractive thing to photograph, but that was no concern here! And the onion rings were enormous!
I also ordered a second cocktail at this point, the Dog’s Nose (largely because I thought it was a great name!) – Tanqueray Rangpur gently warmed with fresh horseradish pressed apple Meantime porter, fresh citrus, spices & sweetened with vanilla sugar & honey. Again, it was such a bizarre range of flavours but they just worked! I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so warm, so in hindsight, it’s probably something I would order at the end of the meal rather than in the thick of it.
To finish, Charlotte ordered the chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream (I don’t know where she puts it, she’s tiny!) and I just had some vanilla and chocolate ice cream.
Overall, I had a lovely evening at VOC Grill and the service was excellent throughout (except for a rather awkward moment when a waitress who didn’t realise we were doing a review wouldn’t let us leave!) but aside from that, it was great and the staff were very knowledgeable, especially about the cocktails. The food was good but it didn’t blow me away – there was just quite a big difference between the food and the drink. The cocktails had so many unique flavour combinations and skills involved in making them, that the food seemed quite basic alongside them, even though it was perfectly tasty.
I would certainly return, but probably not for a three course meal. I’d go for some drinks and order some food from the bar menu, of which many of the items are on the restaurant menu too, such as the nachos and burgers. It’s worth checking out if you’re in the area and fancy trying out some really lovely, unusual cocktails.
I was invited to review VOC Grill, but did not receive any payment. All views are my own.