Monday, 8 July 2013

Kerb and Caravan, King's Cross, London

I'm still here. Just. A trip to Somerset, a hell of a lot of tennis (watching not playing) and the sudden onset of a proper summer have all conspired to make my blogging even more sporadic than it was already. Lolling around in the sun and watching Murray win Wimbledon has taken precedence over waffling on about what I've been eating. With good reason I hope you'll agree.

So, now that the ghost of Fred has finally been laid to rest, back to business as usual.

A flying visit to Kent for work the week before last meant a change of trains at St Pancras. A few years ago you'd need a good couple of hours spare to make venturing from the northbound stations worthwhile, but the King's Cross area has come on in leaps and bounds in recent times, and boasts a whole host of options from sherry bars to street food, all within a few minutes walk of the station platforms.

It was the latter option that tempted, the street food collective formerly known as has expanded and relaunched as Kerb. They now have a whole host of stalls on daily rotation on the new pedestrian street round the back of King's Cross.

Kimchi Cult, purveyors of Korean style burgers, was the one I'd been looking forward to most. I bloody love Kimchi and was intrigued to see how its cabbagey funk worked outside its usual environment. I'm pleased to say it works very well. The spice and savour of the stuff works a treat with a high quality beef patty and plasticky cheese, in the same way that anything else pickled works with a burger or sausage.

It was all beautifully put together; bun the right texture, the right sort of melty cheese, very good meat in the patty, but the whole just didn't do that much for me. The presence of kimchi just made me crave a great bowlful of it in a porky noodle soup.

I can't blame Kimchi Cult for this, I think the realisation is finally dawning that I don't really care about burgers. The relentless obsession with the things in the food world in recent years has brainwashed me into seeking the burgery holy grail, but I don't think it exists. They're just not that exciting. Give me a fine steak or a Thai salad or a bowl of raspberries or a pork pie instead please.

£6 for the kimchi cheeseburger. Personal preferences aside this was a top notch burger, but six quid still seems to be pushing it a bit. I had plenty of room for lunch number two ten minutes later...

..which came courtesy of Yum Bun. I was hoping for a pork bun, but I'd left it too late so had to settle for the Japanese fried chicken bun. Garnished with iceberg lettuce, tartare sauce and chilli dressing this was a bit bloody lovely. The soft bun was a delight, just a little bit chewy but light and airy with it. The chicken: think KFC popcorn chicken with better meat, better batter and better frying skills. Very good.

£3.50 for one of these, or £6 for two. As with the burger, a bit overpriced I'd argue. I do think that the food served at all of these stalls is very good, and deserves comparison with similar restaurant offerings (I'm sure it's better in many cases) but lunch can be had at many restaurants for not much more money, and with the considerably larger overheads of a building, waiting staff and so forth. Minor gripe over, and ultimately the prices are pitched at what the London market will bear.

Between my burger and bun I grabbed a takeaway coffee from Caravan. I really want to eat at this place, the menu reads like a dream, but there wasn't time on this occasion so a coffee had to suffice. A £2.40 flat white (very fairly priced for the location) was good, but not as good as I'd been led to believe the coffee here would be. The coffee itself was excellent, the execution just slightly off though, the texture of the milk a little thin and not as smooth as it could have been.

Kimchi Cult 7/10
Yum Bun 8/10
Caravan coffee 7/10

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