Words by Sarah Kelleher
Located on the first floor of the Great Northern Hotel at Kings Cross St. Pancras, Plum + Spilt Milk is bringing the glamour back to railway dining. The décor in the dining area feels like a modern twist on railway carriage interiors typical of the twenties and thirties, with wood panelled walls, luxurious cream and brown booths, shining tables and a fantastical light feature of glass-encased bulbs hanging from copper rods in a shimmering arrangement. A feast for the senses before you even try the food.
We were welcomed to our table in style with several cocktails – a delicious berry concoction for me and a Lady Violet for my dining companion (trainspotters will be enthused by the presence of the Oriental Express cocktail on the menu). An appreciative pause gave us the opportunity to examine the a la carte menu at our leisure, which showcased a mix of core favourites and seasonal specialties. As the weather outside was frosty, I gave in to the urge to inject some colour into my evening and plumped for the Atlantic prawn, shaved fennel and orange salad followed by the Orkney scallops, while my companion went for the creamed smoked haddock, poached hen’s egg and hollandaise, along with the loin of venison and sloe gin main. The seafood was fresh as could be, and beautifully presented, as was the venison, which had a rich, warming flavour. Neither of us chose from the vegetarian menu, but rest assured, there is one, as tempting as the meat and fish menus with its selection of dishes such as Sharpham Estate spelt, squash and chanterelles.
The restaurant’s name refers to the livery worn by the dining cars that the Flying Scotsman pulled out of Kings Cross, and also features on the dessert menu. A mouth-wateringly sweet construction of tangy plums on top of deep-fried milk custard, this signature dish was matched only by my companion’s choice of dark chocolate mousse, praline and pecans. I would recommend ordering, as we did, the accompanying dessert wines; my glass of Tokaji slid down my throat like liquid gold.
If you’re in the Kings Cross area, or if you’re on the opposite side of London, there’s simply no reason not to visit this jewel of a restaurant. Stylish interiors, good food, good wine and good opportunities for people watching, this is lovely place to begin, or end your journey from. And with spring in the air, the menu promises to deliver yet more delicious dishes to help you on your way.