i'm a big fan of the drake and morgan bars and restaurants. the fable does one of the best sunday roasts around, and the refinery's bar has come to be one of my favourite haunts after work, so when the offer came in to come by and try the london bar group's eponymous restaurant at king's cross, well, i was in. i grabbed my gal pal charley and together we braved the many travel disruptions on sunday to pop in for brunch and have a good old fashion catch up.
we pondered the menu while we supped on some tasty cocktails from the heaaaaavily stocked bar - her a fruity mojitocolada (£8.95) with koko kanu rum, pineapple, mint, lime, and vanilla sugar, and me a fizzy princess rossini (£7.95) made with ketel one vodka, the collector vermouth, strawberry, vanilla and prosecco, because: predictable. the cocktail menu was pretty extensive, with everything ranging from your classic faves to some local and topically named ("green means go", "red means stop" and the "king's cross fresca" to name a few!), so picking a starting point was pretty tough. for me though, bubbles is always where it's at.
for starters we went for the ham croquettes with herb mayo (£6.95) and the crab fritters with corn and chilli (£6.95) and a lemon and honey jus, and were so famished when they arrived (despite it not being very busy in there, it was quite hard to catch-and-keep the attention of the staff working who all seemed to be a bit distracted by other things whenever we tried to order!) that we barely took breaths between mouthfuls.
the croquettes simply melted in the mouth; the subtle taste of ham was complimented perfectly by the herby mayo, while the fritters were so sweet and spicy on the inside that the zesty hit from the runny jus was the only thing that could cut through and add to an already delicious and crunchy dish. we were only starters down, but we were pretty sure we were in taste heaven.
for our second round of drinks, we took advice from our waiter. for me he suggested the seasonal gimlet (£9.95) made from sipsmith gin and strawberry and sage cordial, and for madam he suggested a strawberry spritz (£8.95) with tanqueray gin, creme de fraise, elderflower, lime and soda, and came in a much prettier tumbler glass than mine (although i am quite sure that mine was tastier, so)!
our meals were not far behind the drinks. my pork belly with peach bbq marinade (£11.50) came out on a stupidly large plate, and covered in pickled onions despite that not being on the menu (seriously, this has happened a lot lately; do i need to start instructing waiters "no onions" just in case from now on?), which sort of had me huffing from the get go. thankfully the meat was delicious. just the right amount of fatty, delicate meat and a whole length of crackling doused in the sweet and sticky sauce.
the side of cowboy fries (£4.50) that charley and i were planning to share were dripping in the chilli, garlic and honey sauce that i had assumed would be on the side, and were too spicy even for me. charley's buttermilk chicken burger with chipotle mayo (£9.25) on the other hand, was perfectly tasty - if not a little lacking on the mayo (girl lovvvves her some mayo!), and so damn filling that her parmesan and truffle oil fries (£4.50) were also left for dead. our sides were a bit underwhelming, sadly.
after a cheeky (tipsy) affogato (£7.95) to wash the meal down, we toddled off downstairs for a bit of a nosy. the bar's only been open for a couple of months, but is still relatively "new". the decor in the restaurant is the right kind of modern retro that fits in so easily in a city like london, and the downstairs - if at all possible, was even cooler than the upstairs. a full working kitchen bench ran along one wall for their cocktail masterclass evenings, with the fully stocked bar acting as an island in the middle of the room, which in turn, was filled with islands of circular booths and clusters of big-group tables, making it the perfect spot for big parties of people or group events.
and the bathroom. i don't normally feel it necessary to comment on a restaurant's bathroom, but this one was to die for (dodgy picture provided to entice you down to see for yourself). and enormous. copper accents in ever corner of the otherwise monochrome-tiled hall. giant, skinny mirrors to study oneself under the soft and flattering lighting. candy jars filled with an array of sweets next to the hand dryer, as if to act as a reward (or reminder) to those who follow the rules. it was all just so pretty.
i mean, the whole place is pretty, really, and the staff were very friendly and helpful (when you managed to pin one down at least) too, which is always something i find a lot of places struggle with in london. like, londoners may not be very chatty, but they still want friendly service. in every drake and morgan bar i've been to, i've had fab service, i will give them that; they do good staff. so a massive thanks to the whole team for having us down and looking after us, and for the delish recommendations!
i'll be back for another boozy brunch soon, will you?