Frugl Local: Kings Cross

kings-x-regeneration-getty-1024x640

If there were a prize for most dramatically regenerated area of London, then Kings Cross would win hands down.  Back in the 1990s it was a smoggy, clogged artery of the UK’s train network and a famously miserable crucible of capital living, full of the worst parts of the seedier side of life.  Twenty years and millions of pounds later and the dual stations of Kings Cross and St.Pancras stand as a suitably grand entrance hall to the continent.  Whether disembarking from the Eurostar, preparing for a grand adventure abroad or looking for a great day out, the revamped Granary Square, classic Euston Road and still developing York Road now offer an excellent selection of bars, shops, restaurants and museums.

Grain store

1. Grain Store – This restaurant from award-winning French maestro Bruno Loubet is the jewel in Granary Square’s crown.  The industrial space has been renovated and overhauled so that a wonderful open and light modern kitchen is there for all guest to see, framed by old brickwork.  Whether popping in for a quick cocktail or an array of delicious snacks the standard is always unfailingly high.  Whilst the main meals are quite pricey, the all day menu features all sorts of tasty treats for under a tenner, including the stand-out vegetable chorizo ‘scotch egg’, fennel & aioli. All day menu served Monday – Friday  Noon – 10.30pm / Saturday 3.30pm – 10.30pm. Granary Square, King’s Cross, 1-3 Stable St, London N1C 4AB

quentin-blake

2. House of Illustration – House of Illustration is the UK’s only public gallery dedicated solely to illustration, with a creative programme of exhibitions, talks and events. Founded by Sir Quentin Blake and opened in July 2014 at the heart of the King’s Cross regeneration area, it is the place to see, learn about and enjoy illustration in all its forms; from advertisements to animation, picture books to political cartoons and scientific drawings to fashion design.  As wonderful exhibitions from some of the country’s most reknowned cartoonists and illustrators (many of which are displayed straight onto the walls) they also host great workshops and special events. Opening Times: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 6pm 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, Kings Cross, London N1C 4BH

Camley

3. Camley Street Nature Park – Two unique acres of wild green space right in the heart of London, this innovative and internationally acclaimed reserve on the banks of the Regent’s Canal is a place for both people and wildlife.  Camley Street Natural Park was created from an old coal yard back in 1984. It is popular with all kinds of people seeking respite from the buzz of the city around them, as well as being a hub for London Wildlife Trust volunteers. The reserve has a visitor centre and provides natural habitat for birds, butterflies, amphibians and a rich variety of plant life.  A perfect place to take green-fingered little ones on a bright spring day. Opening Times: Winter 10am – 4pm, Summer 10am – 5pm.  12 Camley St, London N1C 4PW

Caravan-Kings-Cross

4. Caravan – Next door to Grain Store, Caravan adds a bit more bustle to its neighbour’s class.  It’s the perfect place for a slap-up breakfast before heading out into the world, full of the most original ingredients to get you going for the day.  There’s three version of a fry-up, from classic to baked eggs with Merguez sausage to barbecued baked beans with chorizo. If you fancy something a bit more experimental then the courgette and corn fritters with chilli jam is a surefire zinger. Opening Times: Monday/Tuesday 8am – 10:30pm; Wednesday/Thursday 8am – 11pm; Friday 8am – Midnight; Saturday 10am – Midnight; Sunday 10am – 4pm. 1, Granary Building, Granary Square, London N1C 4AA 

Greek Larder

5. The Greek Larder – As the new Kings Cross site has developed, so its fringes have begun to flower with excellent places like the Greek Larder.  A dual delicatessen and restaurant showcasing Greek food at it’s fresh, delicious best.  Founded by award-winning Theodore Kyriakou, the showcases the finest in Greek produce including cheeses, charcuterie, olives, Cycladic honey, pulses, traditional sweets and delicacies: the best from small regional producers. Opening Times: Monday – Friday 8am – 10:30pm; Saturday 10am – 10:30pm; Sunday 11am – 4pm. ArtHouse, 1 York Way, London N1C 4AS

Star of ings

6. Star of Kings – Lively to the changes happening in the area, this great pub gave itself a makeover from it’s dingy previous self a couple of years ago and it’s now reaping the benefits.  If you want a burger and a pint there’s probably few places better around Kings Cross – a cracking idiosyncratic menu includes the Kings (with oxtail chilli), the Elvis (with peanut butter and banana!) and the appropriately named vegetarian Morrissey.  Meanwhile downstairs the pub has a low-ceilinged performance space perfect for comedy. It hosts the regular Comedy Grotto, where alternative legends such as Kevin Eldon, Simon Munnery and Mae Martin road test new gags, plus an array of excellent musical nights including London’s only Disney and Musicals club night: ‘Pure Unfortunate Souls’! Opening Times: Monday – Thursday 11:30am – Midnight; Friday 11:30 am – 1am; Saturday Midday – 1am. 126 York Way, London N1 0AX

KERB

7. Kerb – For all the outstanding restaurants which have germinated around Kings Cross, its signature food hub is this pop-up.  Although it is closed during the rainy winter months, Kerb is one of the finest showcases for up and coming street food in London.  With everything from Vietnamese Pho to damned if we know, there’s always a kaleidoscopic array of culinary delights here. Opening Times: Various – check website. Stable St, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AA

Notes-to-open-two-new-venues_strict_xxl

8. Notes Coffee – Tastefully hidden inside the new Pancras Square complex, this is the finest caffeine kick on offer around the stations.  As well as the usual array of excellent coffees there is a changing daily menu that starts with pastries and granola and changes in the evening to cheese and meat boards. Opening Times: Monday-Wednesday 7.30am-9pm; Thursday/Friday 7.30am-10pm ; Saturday 10am-6.30pm ; Sunday 10am-6pm. One Pancras Square N1c 4AG

euston tap

9. Euston Tap – This legendary sentinel outside Euston station provides two warm, inviting cubby holes for pre-journey and post-work drinkers.  One of the original London pubs to start serving exotic beers and ales from all around the UK and the Globe, it possesses an Olde Worlde charm and class, with seasoned drinkers and tingle-tongued newbies spoilt for choice. Opening Times: Monday – Sunday from Midday. 190 Euston Rd, London NW1 2EF

platform 9

10. Platform 9 3/4 – If this is your first time in London and you’re in possession of children then this is an absolute must.  It’s accompanied by a well-stocked gift shop next door, but the real fun here is seeing just how high you can jump whilst holding the trolly for that perfect ‘I’m heading for Hogwarts via magic’ photo. Opening Times: Sunday – Friday 5am – 1:36am; Saturday 5am – 1:11am. Kings Cross Station, London N1C 4AP

skip garden

11. Skip Garden Kitchen – In amongst the sophisticated bistros and pubs that have grown up, the Skip Garden provides some down to earth homeliness and fun.  Whilst it’s been redeveloped Kings Cross has been jam-packed with skips, so this company decided to rescue and re-puropse them by filling them full of soil, seeds and – in time – delicious vegetables.  Now they’re open and selling delicious super salads from their makeshift gardens, as well as scones, crumpets and refreshing teas. Opening Times: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm. Tapper Walk, London N1C 4AQ

invisigle dot

12. The Invisible Dot – Kings Cross isn’t often associated with cutting edge performance, but over the past few years this outstanding comedy production comedy has showcased some of the most original young comedians from the UK and abroad.  They regularly put on shows from Edinburgh Comedy Award nominees, as well as unique seasonal shows and appearances from mega-stars such as Harry Hill, Tim Key, Sara Pascoe, Simon Amstell and more! Opening Times: 9am – 11pm  2 Northdown St, London N1 9BG

Newtyon

13. The British Library – It may be stating the obvious, but a trip to London should always include the British Library.  Don’t let this big, iconic venue bypass you as you enter London. In addition to its constantly bewitching statute of Sir Isaac Newton, there are always a variety of excellent exhibitions on covering subjects as diverse as the history of comic books, a spell-binding array of religious texts from centuries gone by to a history of erotic literature! For locals, the Library contains an excellent cafe and wraparound wi-fi – the perfect environment to grab a table and work surrounded by the finest thinkers bound up in paper and glue. Opening Times: Monday/Friday 9:30am – 6pm; Tuesday – Thursday 9:30am – 8pm; Saturday 9:30am – 5pm; Sunday 11am – 5pm. 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB

Medicine Now gallery Wellcome Collection

14. Wellcome Collection A museum dedicated to medicine might sound as much fun as a trip to the GP for your flu jab, but the Wellcome Collection houses a fascinating array of oddities and curios, as well as a regularly changing main exhibition.  The heart of the collection is a journey detailing the progress of medicinal science through the ages that should intrigue, disgust and relieve visitors that they’re living at the business end of modern times. Our favourite permanent exhibit is based around items collected by the bizarre  Henry Wellcome himself. He was a man of many parts: entrepreneur, philanthropist, patron of science and pioneer of aerial photography. He also created one of the world’s great museums: a vast stockpile of evidence about our universal interest in health and the body.  More than 150 years after his birth in 1853, this exhibition reunites a cross-section of extraordinary objects from his collection, ranging from diagnostic dolls to Japanese sex aids, and from Napoleon’s toothbrush to George III’s hair.  Opening Times: Tuesday/Wednesday, Friday – Sunday 10am – 6pm; Thursday 10am – 10pm. 183 Euston Rd, London NW1 2BE

Drink shop do 2

15. Drink Shop Do – A Frugl favourite.  This arts and crafts cafe is designed to bring out the best in people.  Accessible enough that families always feel welcome, encouraging enough that even the most ham-fisted of people feel enthused to come and try their hands at something new and full of enough good humour that its a hipster-free zone!  Pop down any night of the week to make Lionel Richie biscuits, giant Lego biscuits or play filthy dot to dot! Opening Times: Monday – Thursday 10:30am – Midnight; Friday – Suday 10:30am – 2am. 9 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DX

Gasholder-Park-Kings-Cross_Nov-15-sml

16. Gasholder no.8 – One of the most ingenious parts of Kings Cross’ regeneration, this iconic piece of the industrial skyline was painstakingly dismantled in 2011.  Two years later it returned to King’s Cross to be re-erected on the north side of Regent’s Canal overlooking Camley Street Natural Park and St Pancras Basin.  Hidden within the frame itself is a stunning new park and event space designed.  By day Gasholder Park is a place to play or pause and take in the view over the canal and Camley Street Natural Park. By night, subtle lighting transforms the park into a destination for events. Goods Way, King’s Cross, London NW1

introducing-london-s-first-video-game-bar

17. Meltdown – Meltdown is officially the first and only ‘eSports’ bar in London, the ultimate bar for gamers. This London bar is a retreat for gaming fanatics with strictly game-themed drinks and with all the latest and most popular games, there’s something for everyone. For the hardcore players there’s Starcraft and League of Legends on two battle style desks. If you’re into something a bit more casual there’s a few Xbox 360’s equipped with fighting games like Injustice and Street Fighter. There’s even arcade controllers for the more old-school game fans.  So whether you’re a hopeful button-basher or an artful gaming wizard, there’s everything you could wish for here. Opening Times: Sunday – Thursday 5pm – Midnight; Friday 5pm – 1:30am; Saturday 2pm – 1:30am. 342 Caledonian Rd, London N1 1BB

canal_125_kings_cross_bar_london_restaurant_1

18. Canal 125 – Established in 2005, Canal 125 offers the perfect setting, whether it’s for a sit down meal or a swift pint at the end of the day.
Set in a beautiful mid-19th century building,  it’s a perfect place to hole up on a blustery day or to sit on a terrace sipping cocktails and enjoying the view of the serene Regent’s Canal. Opening Times: Monday -Thursday 11am- Midnight; Friday/Saturday 11am-2am; Sunday 11am-9pm. 125 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9RG

Somers town

19. Somers Town Coffee House – Tucked half way down Chalton Street, between London Euston and London St Pancras train stations is a British boozer with a twist. Not a Coffee House as you would expect by our name, but a cracking British pub, boasting twelve real ales, a British Tapas and large plate menu, plus a speak easy cocktail club and four secret meeting and dining rooms hidden behind a bookcase on the ground floor! They’re also open bright and early at 8am, not for the inveterate alkies amongst you, but to fizz your day with some spiffing coffee from their friends at The Gentlemen Baristas. Opening Times: Monday – Friday 8am – 11:45pm; Saturday/Sunday 10am – 11:45pm. 60 Chalton St, London NW1 1HS

bree sign.jpg

20. Bree Louise – If you’ve got a rhododendron bush beard, knitted lifeboatman jumper and love a real ale then this place will be your Mecca.  With a constantly changing menu of guest ales and ciders, all of which pack a hefty punch, this excellent backstreet pub id a cracking place to get steaming drunk of a weekend.  Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 11:30am – 11pm; Sunday Midday – 10:30m 69 Cobourg St, London NW1 2HH

Coffee dogs

21. Coffee Dogs – Well here’s an idea that sounds like a hungover rummage through the kitchen cupboards, but actually works: pure-bred hot dogs and hamburgers, every type of coffee under the sun and frozen custard deliciousness, all on sale from early morning till late at night right outside one of London’s busiest stations.  Whether you’ve just hopped of a long journey from Inverness or you need a bite or a drink to keep you going on a night out, this 21st century food and drink stall are top dogs.  Opening Times: Monday/Tuesday 7am – 11pm; Wednesday 7am – Midnight; Thursday/Friday 7am – 1am; Saturday: 8am – 1am; Sunday 8am – 10pm. Kings Cross, next to the taxi rank, N1C 4BS 

To find out about more fun events, deals and entertaining goings on in London you can download the Frugl App from Apple and Android.