King’s Cross has become a hotspot for brunch addicts with Caravan and Granger & Co setting up branches, and now we welcome German Gymnasium to the team. This historic former gym has been given a new lease of life, with a grand dining room and German inspired menu.
The sophisticated dining room is spacious and airy, a lovely place to enjoy a relaxed morning catching up with friends. We sat at a quiet window table, sipping milky cappuccinos and freshly squeezed juices. At night I imagine this great hall dazzles, with the high ceiling and magnificent decor.
The breakfast menu is a mix of British brunch favourites (think avocado and poached eggs on toast) and less familiar German dishes. We encouraged each other to opt for the German specialities, and were pleasantly surprised. Puszta Pan is similar to Shakshuka or ratatouille, a mix of finely chopped courgette, tomato and onion with fried egg and goat’s cheese. It was a tasty and comforting dish, though it did remind me more of dinner recipe than breakfast. Half Croissant & Half Brezel was a decadent delight… Bacon & egg Brezsant with mustard and sauerkraut. To absolve our breakfast sins we also tucked into healthy greek yoghurt with granola and fresh grapefruit.
On a Monday morning, this European-style restaurant was almost empty and lacking in atmosphere, but I imagine at the weekend when locals and Eurostar travellers are stopping by, it feels rather more exciting and glamorous. Personally, I enjoyed sampling a brunch which strayed from the usual dishes and challenged my tastebuds with something new and delicious.
More information and book a table at German Gymnasium here.
Following the success of the Camden branch, Casa Tua has recently opened up in the King’s Cross area. The cafe is located on Cromer Street, a quiet neighbourhood road that feels far removed from the chaos of the nearby station. This family run restaurant offers visitors authentic Italian cuisine, using the best ingredients from Italy.
On sunnier days guests can soak up the rays on the outdoor tables, or for date nights there is a cosier downstairs area. When I visited on a Friday lunchtime the venue seemed popular with professionals working nearby, which makes sense as there are plenty of quick, reasonably priced options on the menu.
The decor is eclectic and fun with quirky memorabilia displayed around the cafe. Plenty of windows give the cafe a light and airy feel, ideal for those wishing to read or get some work done. These thoughtful touches make the space feel homely encouraging diners to relax and unwind.
The presence of sunshine made it acceptable for me to order an Aperol Spritz at lunchtime… just to get into the Italian spirit. Casa Tua also offer a tempting wine list with high quality wines from Italy.
The menu is brief with a range of ciabatta sandwiches, homemade artisan pastas and antipasti snacks. Each day a couple of specials add a seasonal vibrancy to the menu. We chose courgette and saffron penne pasta and, my favourite, the tortelloni stuffed with pork and served with tomatoes and ricotta, absolutely delicious. Burratina salad was simple but tasty, with wonderfully creamy cheese and sweet tomatoes.
Full from the savoury feast we opted for little pistachio pastry bites (from the Puglia region) to have with our coffees. The sweet, nutty snacks was the perfect ending to our relaxed Italian lunch.
More information about Casa Tua here.
Working in Clerkenwell, Exmouth market is an all too frequent lunch spot. And when my arteries begin to squeal from the overdose of Paesan’s Mac and cheese, I head to Leather Lane to find light relief in a Victus and Bibo lamb wrap. And so I have never needed to venture further afield for my midday pick me up. Until I was directed to Wazen that is.
Although the address is Kings Cross, Wazen is located away from the transport hub, which puts into question its billing as a neighbourhood restaurant. That said, the space itself does have a welcoming feel, and successfully avoids the clinical look of so many Japanese outlets. Dark wood and interesting ceramics adorning the shelves add warmth and character to the relatively small space which will comfortably seat around 30 diners.
I would struggle to fault any of the food I tried at the restaurant’s opening event. Edamame, so simple and yet something I am so frequently disappointed by, were deliciously fresh with a perfect bite. The sushi was soft and well balanced, each element allowed to shine. Arguably the dish of the night was the beef tataki – deep, rich and incredibly tender, it melted away leaving a delicious meaty and citrus flavour in the mouth.
Wazen is open every week day lunch offering a set menu which could become a dangerous daily habit, but is certainly something I will justify as a monthly treat. The evening menu and extensive sake list, served during the week and on Saturdays, will satisfy those expecting the very highest standards of Japanese hospitality.
Wazen might be slightly off the beaten track in terms of location, but its food, service and ambience suggest that it is a restaurant heading in exactly the right direction.
More information about Wazen here.
Written by a Thoroughly Modern Miss, Lucy Freedman.