olive's Boozy Lunch of the Week: Plum + Spilt Milk

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PLUM + SPILT MILK

We were intrigued by this King’s Cross newbie.  Firstly there’s the name: a reference to the colours of the dining cars pulled by the legendary Flying Scotsman train.  Then there’s the news that chef turned restaurateur Mark Sargeant is overseeing the menu.  Once the Michelin-starred head chef at Claridges, Sarge more recently decamped to Folkestone to open Rocksalt, with only the odd flit back to the capital (most recently popping up with Carl Clarke at DiscoBistro).   And finally there’s the menu itself. What the hell is Scott’s salad?) and Moon Green charcuterie? (Answers:  a beautifully dressed chopped salad named after the American staffer who claims the Brits can’t make one, and artisan saucissons, salami and air-dried ham from a small holding in Sussex).  Even the cooking equipment is a first for us - forget the Josper, here the INKA charcoal oven will do your 32-day aged porterhouse or Barnsley chop full justice.

There are things to nibble on while we take this all in.  A little pot of taramasalata, French radishes with anchovy sauce and jewel-like broad beans served warm and dipped into mint salt are an excellent start, as is the Lady Violet, a flute of vodka, champagne and Chambord that comes with its own back story (the menu tells all).

In a world of fancy cooking, P+SM’s focus on seafood and well-sourced, simply-cooked meat is very welcome. So too is the mix of everyday dishes like sardines and tomatoes on toast( £8.25) with the more indulgent monkfish curry (£19.50) and whole grilled native lobster (£39). Everything we try, from a well-spiced steak tartare to that chopped salad is perfectly turned out.  Even fries are given an extra twist with a dusting of smoked paprika.

Sarge’s Folkestone restaurant looks out on the sea.  No such view in King’s Cross, but who cares when the interior is so easy on the eye: bunches of filament bulbs, comfy velvet banquettes, polished wood and cut-glass mirrors. Service is equally slick, and as smart as many Mayfair restaurants.

FIND IT - inside the boutique Great Northern Hotel, handily entered through the bar by the taxi rank

DON'T ASK FOR - plum and split milk for dessert: it’s not on the menu. Our pick of the puds is the mixed berry & elderflower jelly with clotted cream ice cream (£7)

DO TRY - Split Milk (£8) a chocolate Martini made with vanilla infused Ketel One, Irish cream, cocoa blanc, and chocolate syrup.