In the heart of King’s Cross, the understated Karpo Grill boasts some tasty fare. The three-storey rustic, modern grill combines relaxed dining in a modern setting on the ground floor of the 4* Megaro Hotel.
The entrance area and adjacent bar gives off the feeling of a vibrant, neighbourhood-friendly eatery. The convivial environment in the main and upstairs dining area, which overlooks the esplanade of King’s Cross station, is a little let down by the accompanying décor. Waiting for food to arrive, Sharking noticed the grubbiness of the plaster walls, while a mixture of concrete, wood and marble tables affect a slightly disjointed interior design feel. However, a refurbishment is due to take place in the coming months, creative marketing firm Chocolate Ltd confirmed.
Playing on the grill element of the experience is part of the plan, and one thing certain to pique customers’ taste buds is the restaurant’s use of a Josper grill: a unique coal-burning oven that delivers a distinctive charcoal flavour to meats and fish. Content with the free WiFi and water, three entrees from the small plates section fly out of the kitchen:
the 24-hour slow cooked pork belly with BBQ sauce; grilled Galician octopus, beetroot hummus with squid ink dressing; and the grilled prawn skewers with a rosemary and lemon aioli dip.
Despite two of the dishes served lukewarm, the texture and flavour of all three are impressive. Juicy and plump, the three grilled prawn skewers are very tasty, although Sharking found the palette somewhat overwhelmed by the distinctive chargrilled flavour, and at £12 a hit the price is a little adventurous.
The slow-cooked pork belly pieces are tender, with a crispy skin coated in a moreish BBQ sauce: A nice entrée at a slightly more affordable £6. But the Galician octopus is truly the pinnacle des plats. Cooked to perfection, the soft octopus blends deliciously with the cool beetroot hummus, with the black squid ink offering a nice kick.
For mains, Sharking recommends meats from the Josper grill. The sirloin, rib eye and chateaubriand steaks are all served with British bone marrow, which makes a nice accompaniment. Starting at £11 per 100g for the sirloin and rising to £14 per 100g for the Chateaubriand, the prices won’t leave you haemorrhaging cash by the end of the meal. Lively maître de’ Richard recommended the Chateaubriand, but after being informed it was out of stock, Sharking went for the Ribeye… and it does not disappoint. Served on a bed of dressed salad leaves, the medium-rare ordered steak was beautifully cooked, slightly bloody and largely devoid of fat.
A glass of Shiraz enhances the rich, succulent flavour of the meat, which is nicely seasoned with a little salt and pepper. A selection of sides is a good accompaniment, notably the sweet potato fries, grilled sweetcorn and mac and cheese. The former were crispy and light, the latter nicely flavoured with the signature charcoal hit, while the last was gooey, moist and perfect for a little indulgence, served in a clay dish for added novelty. Other items on the menu, while not sampled, exhibit variety, with burgers, soups, salads and seafood available. Accompanying an all-day menu is neighbourhood brunch, served between 12pm and 3pm at the weekend, and a breakfast menu between 7am to 11am Monday to Friday, and 8am to 12pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Megaro Bar: King’s Cross’s ‘mischievous’ secret
Too full for a dessert, Sharking visited the Megaro Bar located in the basement. Dubbed by Megaro as its “naughty little secret”, the prohibition-style vintage speakeasy offers cocktails, wines, beers and spirits in a laid-back setting flanked by red velvet-curtained seating booths. A picture room at the rear accommodates up to 30 people, can be hired for private functions, and also doubles as a film screening room.
Alongside jazz night Thursdays, the bar is planning some exciting developments involving whisky tastings in the coming months plus a potentially exclusive tipple. You heard it here first!