Drake & Morgan
6 Pancras Square, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AG
Chef Dave Green
Drake & Morgan is the eponymous flagship of the Drake & Morgan group, which bills its restaurants as places where one can ‘escape’. The restaurant serves what could be best described as a gastro pub menu with a strong emphasis on the grill. We decided to do half and half with the menu, between playing it safe and the more exploratory offerings – with hit and miss results. Though the food did not lend itself to the evening, the ambience definitely helped. One could talk easily to everyone at the table and there were some good tunes from the DJ downstairs. Overall there was a great sense of averageness, even when one would find something good on a plate, the rest would pull it back down.
Food: 5 / 10
– Starters –
Seabass ceviche, capers, cress
More of a tartar than a ceviche, the sea bass was fresh and paired well with the capers.
Crispy squid, lemon mayonnaise
I always approach calamari with trepidation, having been subject to enough rubbery, greasy monstrosities in my lifetime. Thankfully this dish was neither; the calamari were succulent and crisp, with only the odd one being a touch greasy. The lemon mayonnaise, on the other hand, was bland and uninspiring, I would not have been surprised if it was knock-off Hellmann’s.
– Mains –
Grilled half chicken, salsa verde
The chicken had obviously been pre-cooked and allowed to seize up, resulting in a dry and tough texture. Thank god then, even though it was bland, for the slatherings of salsa verde.
Chicken coconut curry
I’m surprised that the kitchen tasted this and thought, “yes, this is more mediocre than the basics range from a supermarket – just what the menu was missing”. In all seriousness, this dish was like drinking pepper soup. The flavour permeated throughout, and dominated everything else.
Wagyu burger, blue cheese, tomato chutney
Finally, a return to form. A good flavour combination with succulent and well caramelised meat. The brioche bun and tomato chutney were other sources of sweetness, but all together they were kept under control by the blue cheese.
– Sides –
Trio of chips, onion rings, broccoli, spinach
Whoever was on the fryer knew their stuff, as both the chips and onion rings were light and crispy with nary a hint of grease. The broccoli and spinach were cooked up to the boundary of mush and needed some seasoning at the table.
– Dessert –
Eton mess sundae
Sweet, sweet and more sweet. Good if you are in the mood for it, but nothing to write home about.
Service: 6 / 10
Though friendly, the service seemed a bit stretched. There were a couple of times that we wanted to catch someone’s attention, but there was no-one in sight for 5-10 minutes.
Price point: Expensive
In conclusion: The spread in quality from the kitchen makes Drake & Morgan a risky bet for anything but a casual get-together. Their strength seems to be in the burger and fries department (a quick glance around showed every table in site opting for some variety of it), but given the size of the menu there could be other hidden gems.