Thanks to word of mouth, Arabica has grown from street-food stall to a popular small plates restaurant in Borough. Now a second restaurant has opened in King's Cross. Just past Coal Drops Yard and next door to the soon-to-open Lina Stores, the new opening is part of the area's 'glow up' from tatty terminal to dining destination.
Arabica was busy and buzzy when we went to review on a drizzly Tuesday evening, but the service was consistently swift and friendly. The cocktail list gets things off to a strong start. A Pomegranate Martini is dangerously juicy, with pink peppercorns and a dash of vanilla adding warmth to a zesty tequila base. And the Smoke and Spice offsets Mezcal, Cointreau and grapefruit with cumin and fennel salt.
The menu combines Levantine classics, favourites from the Borough Arabica restaurant and some new creations. Designed to reflect the Middle Eastern meze tradition, it is all supposed to be shared. Though we made admirable inroads as a twosome, this is the kind of food that really comes into its own for bigger groups... if only because you can then justifiably order all eight options from the Dips section of the menu.
If you must choose between the dips, the Supergreen Hummus is a must. Don't be perturbed by the clean eating style name: it's rich, silky and filling, with blended spinach lending a mossy green colour, sprouting pulses on top for texture, and warm pillowy pita bread for mopping up.
From the Hot Meze selection, the Beiruti Falafel Bites are crisp, moist and moor-ish while the buttery pastry-covered Beef Cheek Borekas are a succulent combination of braised ox cheek and roasted veg.
By this point, we were already starting to feel full: portions are generous and the food is hearty. But the cheesy, truffle-covered Mushroom Man'ousheh, flatbread with mushrooms, halloumi, ricotta and rocket, was too tempting to resist. The signature dish, the Kebab el Arabica, is a pleasing take on a pie, with lamb koftes and charred veg sealed in a bread-dough lid and baked in a clay oven until tender. Peeling back the bread top is almost as fun as dipping it in and scooping out the chunks of lamb.
|What||Arabica King's Cross review|
|Where||Arabica Kings Cross, 7 Lewis Cubitt Walk, Kings Cross, London, N1C 4DT | MAP|
|Nearest tube||King's Cross St. Pancras (underground)|
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|