London is full of exciting new hotel openings right now. Youâ€™ve got the Hoxton Southwark, Mama Shelter in Shoreditch, The Biltmore in Mayfair and The Stratford in, er, Stratford. Head over to Kingâ€™s Cross and youâ€™ll find the first UK outpost from The Standard.
It takes over the old Camden Town Hall right opposite Kingâ€™s Cross station. A little less glamorous than its Downtown LA, Hollywood, East Village and High Line NYC siblings. The top floor is home to a restaurant from Bristolian chef Peter Sanchez Iglesias called Decimo. In the ground floor youâ€™ll find Isla by chef Adam Rawson.
Itâ€™s a fun and vibrant design with patterns, colours and textures galore. The dining room sprawls between the lounge area, more formal tables and an outside terrace. In the evenings thereâ€™s a DJ and itâ€™s party central.
The food is as interesting as the surrounds. Islay-cured salmon with wild capers (Â£9) and ceviche with lettuce (Â£13) gets things off to a strong start. A plump burrata (Â£10) comes covered in elegantly placed pickled courgettes and dill. Nothing is short on flavour.
Kohlrabi bagna cÃ uda (Â£14) comes with Exmoor caviar which provides an added seafood whallop. Bagna cauda is a sauce made of garlic and anchovies. Here, pink peppercorns cleverly add some heat.
Fowey mussels (Â£13) are just missing a nice big bowl of fresh-from-the-frier chips to dunk in that seafood cream. Those are some mighty fine mussels. A hearty dish of fuzi pasta (Â£14) is covered in an Autumnal cuddle of cep mushroom, egg yolk and black truffle.
And then it happens. The 700g aged beef chop (Â£59) arrives. It is a thing of utter joy and beauty. In part, from the cooking, which has given the meat a salty crust on the outside moving to a soft, pink centre. But mainly, itâ€™s the quality of the cow.
A bit of digging finds out this is retired dairy cow from Scotland – something youâ€™ll see served at more and more restaurants in London. This beef is supplied by Nemanja BorjanoviÄ‡ (he owns Donostia and Lurra in Marylebone) who has championed this exquisite meat for its golden fat and superb flavour. Itâ€™s the best beef Iâ€™ve ever eaten.
No dessert for us. We donâ€™t want to get rid of the taste of that beef. So, go to Isla for the exciting and pack-a-punch food, stay for the fun interiors and make sure you order the beef. Itâ€™s truly magnificent.
Would we go back? Yes
We dined as guests of the restaurant