A short walk round the back of King’s Cross brings you to the steps of the glossy front of the only branch of Vinoteca that currently deigns to offer breakfast. Judging by the general absence of trade, I can see why they haven’t extended the concept to their other sites yet. But you need a real draw to bring punters even this modest distance back from the hustle and bustle of the station front, and the various competing venues there.
You can’t help but feel that this is being trialled in the wrong place and one of the city centre locations might have been a better bet. But as it is we share the premises with only one other patron. As a choice for a discreet conversation it could hardly be better, if only we had anything of such sensitivity to discuss! As it is we merely cover the usual small talk and order a kedgeree and a ‘Gypsy eggs’ respectively. With a side of fresh avocado because, well, why the hell not?
Both dishes are well presented and reasonably proportioned. Gypsy eggs, to the uninitiated, is a chorizo and spicy tomato base topped with baked eggs and parsley and accompanied here by that avant-garde breakfast favourite – sourdough toast.
The fare itself is pleasingly good and it’s nice to see a menu with a little originality on offer. The egg on the kedgeree is just right, and the Gypsy eggs pack a decent kick along with the rich flavours. With so few customers you would imagine that the service would be impeccable ..but unfortunately this is the slight letdown of the place. The single member of waiting staff, presumably under the baleful eye of a grumpy manager somewhere in the back studying an empty looking till, seemed to need to spend every moment not at the table of a customer filling in other chores, such as cleaning invisible smudges from the gleaming front windows. As a result it was somewhat harder than it should have been both to place our order when we had decided our choices, and to get the bill when we had finished.
This minor quibble aside, it was a good meal and – certainly for the moment – a pleasant haven from the hubbub of nearby King’s Cross and Euston Road. Would I go back? Certainly if I was in the vicinity, perhaps waiting for a Eurostar or something. But it feels does feel that running the breakfast experiment here Vinoteca are somewhat missing the boat – get one of those City joints dishing up the eggs and bacon, where folks can roll out straight to their desks and it might be a better bet. Oh, and let the waiting staff concentrate on the customers instead of filling in on other tasks.