Dishing up big-fisted flavours, and elegant with it, Plum and Spilt Milk in King’s Cross is on the right track
Great Northern Hotel, King’s Cross, London N1 (020 3388 0818). Meal for two, including drinks and service: £120
There is a man eating alone at the table next to us in Plum and Spilt Milk, the restaurant of the newly restored Great Northern Hotel at London’s King’s Cross. He looks utterly content, with his plate of devilled kidneys on toast. I like to think that a lot of people eat here alone, for if a terminus restaurant has any purpose at all, it is to offer a place for the solo traveller to occupy themselves.
In my late-teens, I InterRailed around Europe most summers and became obsessed with the great train stations of what we then called the Continent: the vaulting cathedral of Milan, nurtured by Mussolini as some ludicrous tribute to fascism, and through which every European journey appeared to be routed regardless of destination; the city-within-a-city of Munich station, where you could get a shave, eat dinner and take in a dodgy movie without ever setting foot outside; the more hokey charms of Ventimiglia on the French-Italian border, where at midnight the café was always full of travellers changing trains and the espresso machines steamed constantly as if in tribute to the old puffers that once passed by.