Karpo is an odd looking restaurant from the outside; sandwiched between a bureau de change and a Burger King in the hustle and polluted bustle of Kings Cross. It’s vibrantly painted to say the least.
The inside however felt much less chaotic and almost tranquil. There was a long bar in the entrance area with seating out the back. We were taken to a table right by a wall covered from floor to ceiling in living foliage (what if a spider lands on my head I thought!) which was very pleasant and most unusual.
I should point out that I was invited to review Karpo and as I’d previously been many years ago I was keen to see what the food was like now. On our Sunday lunchtime visit a brunch menu was all that was available.
The eggs Bennedict (£8) were as satisfying as you could possibly hope for; the rich and creamy hollandaise seductively dribbled over the ham. The eggs were poached perfectly allowing for a soft and gooey yolk to add to the richness.
I’m a bit of a sucker for a scotch egg so I couldn’t resist ordering theirs, which was plonked atop a celeriac remoulade with mustard seeds (£5). It was a big old bugger with a brilliantly crisp breadcrumbed exterior and the Clarence Court egg in the centre displayed a neon orange glow when cut. Utterly divine.
Main courses were slightly less enticing. My gentleman companion’s wet polenta, wild mushrooms, ricotta and shaved chestnuts (£12) was a bit beige and sloppy; it lacked flavour and texture. My braised blade of beef with mash, carrots and onion (£15) was better. Although the gravy was a tad watery it had plenty of flavour. The beef was superbly tender and the mash faultlessly smooth but the carrots were underdone.
A side of mac & cheese (£3.50) tipped us over the edge – we were totally stuffed but ploughed on through as it was that good. Rich and cheesy with a crunchy top. Phoar.
Kings Cross isn’t what it used to be and there’s now plenty of good places to eat in the area. Whereas the food at Karpo didn’t appear to be hitting the heights of nearby Grain Store or Caravan, it was still very pleasant indeed. It strikes me as the perfect place for a spot of weekend brunch – sipping on a coffee whilst admiring the wall of plants and tucking into a scotch egg or two.