My late night visit to Kings Cross one Friday evening reminded me that I had yet to visit and check out the Great Northern Hotel. So when my friend whom I hadn’t seen in a while suggested meeting up, I checked to see if there was a restaurant or bar on the offering at the hotel since it was an ideal meeting point for the both of us – both of which exists, the bar, GNH Bar, and the restaurant, Plum & Spilt Milk.
Not having read much about it, but the words on the website caught my eye
“Elegant yet relaxed…”
this was what we needed! So reservations made, and I looked forward to my first outing after a bout of illness.
I am glad that I don’t read up about a place before trying it, too many pre-conceptions otherwise. So the evening of my dinner arrived, unfortunately the weather wasn’t particularly helpful, heavy rain which meant the day was constantly dull and dark. I was late to the venue, and despite instructions from my friend, I approached the doorman at one of the entrances to the Hotel – perfect experience: polite, helpful, and he did not detained me longer than was necessary – my first experience of the service of the Hotel was good! I was soon on the first floor at Plum & Spilt Milk waiting to be shown to my table & dinner companion.
We had a lot to catch up on, my dinner companion and I, so we were slightly distracted by our conversation and delayed our examination of the menu. Nonetheless our waiter, Mariusz, who was extremely friendly, polite, and helpful, had the right degree of attentiveness to remind us that we needed to make our menu selection. Recovering from illness I felt quite “meat deprived”, so I opted for an overdose – Steak Tartare followed by a Rib Steak on the Bone. My companion being mostly a vegetarian “went the other way” and tried their INKA Roasted Tomato Soup followed by John Dory with roasted artichokes. And instead of having a vegetable side dish, we opted to try their Bubble and Squeak. For our wine something light, a Sicilian red, Nero d’Avola 2011 was chosen.
INKA is apparently an oven that gives an authentic charcoal grill flavour by the way.
Little did I know at the time that the Chef here at Plum & Spilt Milk is none other than Mark Sargeant. formerly head chef at Gordon Ramsey at Claridge’s. But on investigating more, with his Kent roots, no wonder there was Kentish Gipsy Tart on the menu! This is a very sweet dessert that I associate with my boarding school days in Kent, and I couldn’t wait to see how his version would be.
The rain fell heavily during our meal, more emphasized by the view of it as it fell on the new King’s Cross Station glass canopy, but as the website stated, ” Elegant yet relaxed…”, and this is the atmosphere that my companion and I experienced. The décor and ambience resembled slightly of a gentlemen’s club, I enjoyed their discrete dimming of lights as the night drew in, and that they lowered the electric blinds during our meal. Our food solidly British, maybe British Commonwealth is a better description, was slightly on the salty side for my tastes, but still what I required on that evening… comfort food with a twist, familiar tastes done well! As you can see from the images below, our menu choices reflected this.
I will definitely be less “comforty” on my next visit with my menu choices, and definitely less ill, as the bubble and squeak dish proved, an actual vegetarian dish rather than a side dish, it was served with a fried duck’s egg and green sauce (basil & parsley).
Kentish Gipsy Tart, I explained to our waiter Mariusz, was not just specific to Kent, but only a small area in Kent. There was no way we could have eaten more, but it was a necessity to try, so one was ordered to share. Next time, there definitely has to be room for dessert! Too many of the desserts need to be tasted and if we can there are the Artisan English Cheeses as well!
We managed to finish the Gipsy Tart – more refined than the boarding school version of course, and opted for some fresh mint tea to help our rather heavy choice of a meal down.
What we enjoyed most after is our retirement to the bar/lounge to enjoy a glass of Dalmore’s King Alexander III each, a blended single malt whisky, continue our conversation with the noise of the heavy rain falling in the background. I can imagine this atmosphere in the depths of winter with an open fire…
With that, the attentiveness of our waiter Mariusz, the restaurant manager Mathew Maynard, and the other staff in the lounge/bar, definitely “Elegant yet relaxed…” a perfect way to spend the evening… at the Plum & Spilt Milk.