One of the later opening bars in King’s Cross, the Big Chill House has kicked off its fifth birthday celebrations with the introduction of breakfast.
Last week I went to test drive how a nightclub does breakfast. I should add that it was on the house, but the following is written freely.
The Big Chill has also had a makeover inside and out. Walking through the red velvet-curtained entrance, fortunately retained, I find it’s out with the festival namesake plastic grass, chandeliers and stuffed animals and in with ‘old school’ (literally). Vintage plywood desks and chairs and a rainbow of anglepoise lamps are set against dark shades of blue and green and contrasting doodlings on the walls. I make a beeline for the desk that runs along the big light-filled windows. Sit up straight.
The 3-storey club appears to want a piece of the King’s Cross weekday breakfast meeting action (8am), which nearby 6 St Chad’s Place has been doing for some years. However unlike St Chad’s, it also does weekends (from 11am) — an appealing prospect for this late-rising local.
The menu’s pleasingly comprehensive, and neither greasy spoon nor gastro. Bottomless filter coffee with some of the cooked breakfasts (of which there are six to choose) says ‘diner’.
At the bar I order a vegetarian full English for myself and the same for my companion, one scrambled, one poached. Although it’s what I would have anyway, the quality of the scrambled eggs and veggie options are a good test of a kitchen’s mettle. The scramble is nice and rich, aided by lashings of butter, but that’s no bad thing. A colourfully presented plate with roasted tomatoes, bright orange cheesy baked beans, mushrooms, grilled mixed peppers and toasted muffins. Maybe I’m just a carb fiend — but the otherwise good spread screams out for some hash browns or maybe a bit of that delicious-sounding rösti elsewhere on the menu, especially at £7.50.
If you want something lighter, there’s all the continental bits and bobs; a la toast or cereal. But oh the pastries, hope they can find a decent supplier soon, easier said than done. The waiter admits the croissants are from Tesco. Explains why I found mine inedible, therefore better left off the menu for now. However full marks for a cappuccino that ticked all the Fairtrade and organic boxes and was well-enough made — good value for £1.60.
If, like me, watching transport and people is your thing, the window seating gives you unparalleled views of buses hurtling down Pentonville Road and the occasional sidewalk fruit: a girl walks past like a minor Lady Gaga, decked out in purple and white (including her hair) and thigh-high platforms.
Add some wifi and a nice pile of fat, still unwrapped weekend newspapers, and King’s Cross may well have gained another great breakfast bolthole.