Restaurant: The Parcel Yard
When my friend invited me to the Parcel Yard at King’s Cross Station, my hopes for a pleasant venue weren’t high. Having spent a fair bit of time awaiting trains, waiting for arrivals or seeking solace after missing a train, I have seen rather a lot of train stations’ facilities. My experience of station pubs has been one of peculiar smells, questionable characters and grumpy bar staff.
However, I wasn’t going to complain; this was my last chance to see my friend before she jetted off to Vietnam and a round-the-world trip with her boyfriend. A single tube train would take them both directly on to Heathrow Airport.
My boyfriend too expressed doubts about the venue – but when we found our way there, things began looking up. A flight of stairs led up to a space that bore no relation to a typical station pub: bright and airy, it had a tasteful interior featuring wooden floors, big windows, vintage armchairs and sofas, and solid wooden tables.
In fact, it proved to be a very comfortable venue for farewell drinks – with a dozen of us chatting the afternoon away whilst imbibing good, if expensive, wines and beers.
Eventually, my friend left for Heathrow; followed by the rest of the group. That left my boyfriend and I to browse the pub’s food menu. Downsizing to a smaller table, we found a comfortable sofa near a fireplace and ordered the Hampshire beef burger with pickles and chips for him, and the Dorchester rump of lamb for me.
The £10.95 burger was flavoursome and moist throughout, presented in a fluffy and crispy bread roll, and served with a small portion of thick-cut, tasty pub chips. My lamb also tasted great – tender and medium-rare, just as I ordered it. The mouth-watering meat was easy to cut and required little effort to chew. The sides were unusual, but complimented the lamb well: the thyme-roasted butternut squash offered sweetness contrast to the savoury meat, the charred leek melted in the mouth, and the flageolet bean ragout tasted delicious.
However, the dish left something important to be desired: for £17.50, I did expect some sort of carbohydrates – and for some reason, assumed that these would be rosemary potatoes.
In the midst of our lovely dinner, a group of drunken lads stumbled past wanting to join us. With my boyfriend – ever the gentleman – offering no resistance to this ridiculous proposal, I quickly stepped in and said that we would look for somewhere else if they wanted this table. Thankfully, this was enough to make them understand that I did not care for their company, and they left.
There were plenty of free tables around, so I couldn’t understand why they would seek out ours. But then I remembered where I was: a station pub – which, to keep up traditions, must feature the occasional questionable character.
The Parcel Yard, King’s Cross Station
Tel: 020 7713 7258; www.parcelyard.co.uk