Test Driving Arabica King's Cross - a place to return to again and again

roomFrom booths to counter dining, this is a handy place just as much for solo diners to pop in or groups to hunker down for the evening.

What do we need to know about Arabica?

This growing group has already got a restaurant in Borough Market, stalls across London and a concession in the Selfridges Food Hall - describing what they serve as modern Middle Eastern food. This second restaurant features an almost entirely new menu and is open from the early morning for coffees and pastries through to dinner and cocktails.

Where exactly is it?

You'll find it behind Granary Square. That's about a five-minute walk north of King's Cross and St Pancras stations. If you know where Dishoom is, keep on walking down that way and Arabica is situated beside the Aga Khan Centre on Lewis Cubitt Walk.

Where should we meet friends for a drink first?

While there is a bar here, it does feel like more of an eating and drinking space, so if you're just after a drink while you wait, then pop across the park to Little Creatures for a beer.

roomWe were urged to try one of the pomegranate margaritas from the cocktail list and were very glad we did.

Where should we sit?

There are a plethora of options in this purpose-built space. If you like watching the chefs at work, there's a nice chef's counter, or you could eat up at the bar counter too. There's a long communal table down the middle of the restaurant and some rather nice booths at the back. Come summer, the large terrace is going to have rather nice views over Jellicoe Gardens which is being designed by Chelsea Flower Show favourite Tom Stuart-Smith.

And on the menu?

After the nibbles and dips section, the menu is split into hot meze, dishes from the clay oven, those cooked over charcoal and a veg grains section. Here's what we had:

roomSuper green hummus with spinach, watercress, sprouting pulses, basil zhug (£6) - a luridly green version, given a lovely peppery kick from the watercress.

roomMuhummara (£6.50) - a dip of roasted red peppers blitzed with toasted walnuts and Libyan-style harissa - both these came with fluffy pita bread.

roomGrilled halloumi with Turkish figs and orange blossom honey (£7.50) - because who can resist halloumi?

At this point we were already getting pretty full - maybe should have reined in our attack on those pitas - so the selection of pide and flatbreads from the clay oven seemed too much. We'd definitely want to go back and try the white clam pide, for example.

roomOur main course was the kebab el arabica (£14) consisting of lamb koftes, charred tomatoes, blackened onions, Turkish peppers sealed with a bread dough lid and finished in the clay oven. Inhaling this as the lid comes off would blow away any winter colds...

What about vegetarians?

They're very well looked after here - both our starters were excellent and we also enjoyed this side, which we've previously bought from their deli at Selfridges.

roomMujardarah (£6.50)- a mix of Basmati rice with brown lentils and crispy onions. Perfect for mopping up the lovely sauce from the kebab dish.

And for dessert...?

roomTurkish-style kunefe (£7) - the only disappointing dish of our dinner. This version with orange blossom syrup, pistachios and clotted cream sounded gorgeous on paper but was too dry for us.

roomEverything pistachio (£6.50) - thankfully order was restored with this lovely milk soft serve which is mixed with pistachio cream, chewy Turkish delights and baklava crumbles. Heavenly.

What about wine?

Any wine list put together by Zeren Wilson is going to be an interesting one - he mentioned the Australia Assyrtiko on Instagram, so we plumped for that. It was the punchiest white - so we had a carafe for £32.50, but the list includes plenty of bottles in the £20-£30 range.

Overall thoughts:

Arabica King's Cross gets it just right - from the clean proportions of the well-designed dining room to the menu - frankly, we wanted to try everything. Our strongest recommendation would be to go with a group of four or more so you can properly give it a going-through.

Yet another strong opening for the King's Cross area.


More about Arabica KX

Where is it? 7 Lewis Cubitt Walk, London, N1C 4DT

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @Arabicalondon

Book Arabica

Hot Dinners dined as guests of Arabica. Prices correct at time of publication


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