Karpo should be renamed convenient. Leave King’s Cross from exit two and you’ll be standing in front of the entrance. There’s no time wasting; you arrive, you drink, you eat.
It’s also hard to miss. The exterior depicts London’s largest mural; a 450 square metre piece of street art that’s as gaudy as it is spectacular. The restaurant itself is sandwiched between a hotel and basement bar Megaro. The owners are the same, but a good job has been done to make each feel unique.
We were sitting at a chunky wooden table towards the back of the restaurant by the open kitchen. Our chairs were white, plastic and fairly low, meaning our coats dragged on the floor. A cloakroom would have avoided this.
The meal kicked off with a Gogi Berry Kir Royale (£8) and a bowl of my favourite green Sicilian olives (£2).
The Cumberland Scotch Egg (£5) was the obvious choice of starter and came sitting on a yummy bed of celeriac remoulade and mustard seeds. I was delighted to see a runny yolk inside the thick meat case and, from the first mouthful, could understand why it’s the restaurant’s ‘signature’ dish.
We had to ask twice, but our bottle of Malbec arrived with the main courses (£39). Unusually for me, I went for the vegetarian option of Wet Polenta with Mushrooms (£12) as the fish dish didn’t appeal and the rest seemed too heavy after my giant egg. I wasn’t blown away by the flavour, but on behalf of all veggies, appreciated Karpo’s inventiveness.
Across the table, the Pork Belly looked a little anemic and lacked the crisp crackling my friend had looked forward to (£14). It also came with iceberg lettuce – an odd, and equally insipid, accompaniment. Luckily, a side of crisp, roast new potatoes saved the day (£3.50).
L’s Chargrilled Venison won the main course competition (£17). The meat was tender, juicy and completely in love with its partners – sweet red cabbage, cauliflower and peppercorn sauce.
Desserts were shared – a beautiful Vacherin Cheesecake (£6) and a Hot Chocolate Pot (also £6). The soufflé gave me the chocolate fix I needed, but all I really wanted was the cheesecake. Rich, creamy and incredibly smooth, it was worth fighting my friends for.
Karpo gets a LLE Rating of 7/10. A few tweaks would push the points up and I’d happily go back if I was in the area. Probably for a scotch egg, slice of cheesecake and a cocktail. Three of my favourite things in life.
Karpo, 23-27 Euston Road, London, NW1 2SD