Camino King’s Cross: A road worth travelling (August 2014)

For many years, the only reason for most people to be in the King’s Cross area of London was to use the train station. However, an air of dilapidation has been replaced by new developments and the whole area has been notably reinvigorated in more recent times. Even the station has been done up. For diners (or those just curious to see how an area of London has been successfully transformed), there are therefore a myriad of options. A recent weekend outing allowed my comrade and I to sample the delights of Camino, a buzzy Spanish restaurant that has become something of a local institution. Our evening actually commenced at Bar Pepito (owned by the same team), located opposite Camino in the Regent’s Quarter development, just up Pentonville Road beyond King’s Cross. We loved the authentic décor and hence atmosphere of the place that was neither too empty nor too crowded when we visited at about 8pm on Saturday. Sherry remains one of the most under-appreciated and under-valued alcoholic drinks and yet Pepito’s range does a service to the industry, highlighting just how diverse it can be, from the salty refreshing taste of a Fino to the unctuousness (not dissimilar to Christmas pudding) of a Pedro Ximinez. Feeling suitably buoyed by our drinks, we crossed to Camino. Meaning ‘road’ in Spanish, the proprietor has travelled extensively across the country, seeking to find the best regional examples of classic dishes. Most impressed too: the padron peppers from Galicia varied from the innocent to the devilishly spicy; the empandillas (small pasties) contained a great combination of spinach, pine nuts and goat’s cheese; and, the morcilla (black pudding and peppers) was a delight, hearty and invigorating. However, the problem, as almost always seems to be the case with tapas, was that not all the dishes were stand-out. The pan con tomate was decidedly average and mostly tasteless while the arroz negro (black rice with octopus) bordered on the bland and was accompanied by an unnecessary alioli. Nonetheless, given the competitive pricing and an excellent bottle of wine from Navarra, we were not really complaining. Perhaps best enjoyed with a large group (and the opportunity to sample a wide range of dishes), don’t just travel to King’s Cross to catch your train; also check out Camino.