The Standard, London
There is a huge buzz of excitement surrounding the opening of The Standard’s first European hotel in Kings Cross, London. The area is an ongoing huge regeneration area, with finished developments such as Coal Drops Yard and the current building of the UK Google Headquarters. Therefore, it is the perfect place for the trendy hotel chain to make its mark.
Housed in the former Camden Town hall annex the brutalist beauty was magnificently rejuvenated to its seventies glory by Shaun Hausman, who worked alongside Archer Humphryes Architects. Housing three restaurants, two on the ground floor and a third on the 10th floor terrace, there is considerable choice for dining experience. The seasonally driven ISLA restaurant and casual dining Double Standard bar on the ground floor are both run by Adam Rawson, whilst Chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’ restaurant on the roof terrace will open to the public later this month.
We decided to visit ISLA for its small plates dinner service. Arriving at the hotel we entered from the main entrance and were warmly greeted upon walking into the lobby. It was a lovely evening, so were brought out to a leafy garden terrace. It was at this point difficult to keep up, as walking through the space we were momentarily dazed from the huge array of colours patterns and textures. From observation the ground floor seems to be anchored around a central kitchen, from which the Library, Double Standard and ISLA feed off and thus creating a seamlessly open plan layout where each space pours into the next.
Wall finishes changed from vertically stacked tiled columns to walnut panelling and a statement textured rug wall in varying hues of blue. The timber panelled ceiling works its way around the majority of the space, changing slightly in geometry or pattern depending on the area. Opulent hues of plush leathers, velvets and geometric upholstery dress mid century classics and era inspired furniture pieces. Flashes of chrome and colourful powder coating finish any metal detailing throughout the space.
The welcomed sensory overload really created an overwhelming sense that you had stepped into another era, the smart sound-proofing in place throughout the hotel aiding this by blocking out the modern day hustle and bustle from the busy St Pancras station across the road.
The heated garden terrace is shared by both the Double Standard and ISLA and is tucked away at the back of the hotel. A similar but slightly more stripped back aesthetic is brought through into this area. Hungrily sitting down we start scouring the menu and start picking out some dishes to share.
ISLA has a huge focus on locally foraged British ingredients; that said the plates themselves are not quintessentially british, there are obvious european and aisan influences and twists which creates an interesting juxtaposition. This food concept is cleverly manifested into the branding of the menus, where plates are listed under the headings ‘from the sea’ and ‘ from the soil’ and positioned in a highly organic format.
We start with season inspired martinis, duck rillette and pickled anchovies with a basket of sourdough. Followed by the sea trout served with beets and horseradish, fuzi and a side of mustard, almond and yogurt covered broccoli. For us, the stand out dish was most definitely the decadent fuzi, a croatian rolled pasta dish that is coated in a cep mushroom and black truffle sauce was truly irresistible; through the just about audible murmurs of others of tables it seemed to be a favourite throughout. We finished with an amaranth tart with cacao nibs, a slightly bitter desert that initially surprised us as we presumed it would be slightly sweeter but in turn ended up being the perfect dessert to finish with.
As we were leaving we couldn’t help our eyes darting around checking out any details we had previously missed out on, a pleasant hum of people drinking and chatting in the various nooks amidst the book filled shelves in the library had an air of laid back sophistication.We will definitely be back, whether it’s to have a coffee in the Library or to check of the other restaurant offerings. The Standard has managed to create an incredibly beautiful and versatile space which truly feels open to everyone.