Karpo NW1
REVIEWS, March 8, 2012
Overall Value
out of 5
Karpo, 23 Euston Rd, London, NW1 2SD

Top tip for Eurostar travellers, this all-day restaurant tries to be all things to all men’ and largely succeeds.

We Brits don’t have high expectations of restaurants next to railway stations, presumably because there is no recent tradition of termini-proximate restaurants being any good at all. (It wasn’t always so: the sign of Overton’s – a grand olden-days fish and oyster restaurant – still hangs over the grim forecourt of Victoria Station.) Even round St Pancras – glowing with the aura of Eurostar – the success of the grander recent openings has been patchy.

Latest entrant to the fray is this hotel dining room, right across Euston Road from King’s Cross. (Hint: emerge via the tube underpass and you’re right there.) It’s rather odd. Externally, you barely notice it. And internally the initial impression is fairly nondescript too, in a Camden Town concrete-canteen sort of way. Venture further, though, and it gets more interesting – there’s a light well, complete with ‘living wall’, of the type we’d only ever seen before in a restaurant in, yes, Camden Town. And downstairs, there’s a surprisingly congenial bar.

The menu – really a combination of a succession of menus dealing with breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea and dinner – is too long to inspire much confidence. So the surprise was that everything your reporter sampled on a lunchtime visit in the first week of opening was really very good.

Bread, home-made, was served with decent butter. Soup (Jerusalem artichoke) was thoroughly rich and satisfying. A dish of mackerel and rhubarb (hommage à Rowley Leigh, apparently) was, well, interesting. And a pudding of meringue and frozen yoghourt was a sticky delight. Add in some very decent coffee, and very pleasant service too, and there was really nothing not to like.

It was early days of course, and that menu could surely benefit from trimming. But a promising start for the place that, on its initial form, would be our top tip for that last decent British meal before you set off for Paris.

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