I’m loving discovering the new bars and restaurants tucked away in little streets and courtyards around King’s Cross where our new office is. Just over a year I reviewed VOC Restaurant, just a stone’s throw from the station in Varnishers Yard. During my last visit I was impressed by the cocktails and the steaks were very tasty – the restaurant was being positioned very much as a ‘grill’ style venue at the time. Last week I was kindly invited back to the restaurant to try the new menu. While it still has big meaty dishes on the menu for main courses, they have recently introduced a big selection of new ‘small plates’, which are categorised into ‘from the sea’, ‘from the land’ and ‘from the field’.
This time I visited the restaurant with my friend Kelly and we tucked into a wide selection of dishes – Garlic Pan Fried Prawns with garlic, chilli and garden salad, Sea Farer Batativa Scallops with dutch gin, baby greens and tomato salsa, Five Day Air Dried Crispy Duck with spinach, hoisin and chilli kali, Scottish Blackface Lamb, herb crusted with petite grilled veg, Salt Beetroot Carpaccio with basil, goats cheese, rocket, horseradish and cream, and Patatas Bravas. Phew! A lot of food! We also had some grilled sourdough bread with fennel butter.
We also tried a couple of desserts – I went for the ‘Different Eton Mess’ with beetroot meringue and dried strawberries and Kelly ordered the lemon pastry.
Kell was drinking white wine, but I tried a couple of cocktails. The first was the Raspberry Shrub (Pampero Especial bottled with fresh lemon juice, honey and fresh raspberries bottle matured for at least one week) and the second was the Improved Choco Flip (Hennessy & apricot brandy stirred with sugar & chocolate bitters, charged with champagne & garnished with grated nutmeg).
On my last visit, my overall feedback was that the cocktails were very impressive and while the food was perfectly tasty and well cooked, it wasn’t quite as exciting. This time, due to the variety of small plates, ingredients and flavours, they now balanced each other out. All of the food dishes were excellent – we both felt the best one was the crispy duck. The cocktails were wonderfully unusual and creative. The desserts however, were a little plain – I was expecting the meringue to be purple given it was a ‘beetroot’ meringue, but I couldn’t find anything ‘beetrooty’ about it.
I mentioned this briefly in my last review but I thought it was worth exploring again – I do think it’s a shame that you don’t get to see the drinks being made when you’re in the restaurant. The cocktails are so creative with lots of exciting ingredients and flavour combinations, and you can hear the barman popping champagne corks and rattling ice filled shakers in the background, but tucked away out of sight. There’s no real solution to this, but it’s something that has struck me on both visits.
It’s definitely somewhere I need to introduce to the work crew as we’re now just around the corner – perfect for post work drinkies!
To find out more about VOC, you can visit their website here.
I was invited to review VOC Grill, but did not receive any payment. All views are my own.