Hicce, London N1: restaurant review
We try scorched wild red prawns, pork and hispi cabbage draped in creamy reblochon cheese and schooners of local beer at this King's Cross restaurant
Looking for restaurants in King's Cross? Read our review of small plates restaurant Hicce, and check out more suggestions for eating in King's Cross here.
Hicce in a nutshell: Pronounced ‘itchy’ and meaning ‘of the moment’ in latin, Hicce is the latest addition to King’s Cross chic new development, Coal’s Drop Yard. Expect a cool and casual space serving up sensational hot sticks and moreish small plates taking inspiration everywhere from Italy to Japan and Norway, alongside draft wine and sprightly cocktails.
Who's cooking? Chef Pip Lacey is in charge of the (wood-fired) grill and is best known for her win on Great British Menu in 2017, and for previously heading up the kitchen of Michelin-starred Murano in Mayfair. Pip’s joined by Scottish business partner and front-of-house charmer Gordy McIntyre, and the pair have Angela Hartnett as a backer.
What's the vibe? Sat above the new luxury Wolf & Badger store, Hicce has an East London restraint to its aesthetic. Clothless tables, exposed brick walls (which hold the secrets of its former incarnation as Bagley’s, London’s rowdy raving spot) strategically placed succulents, draped ivy hanging from a central bar, and an open kitchen pave the way for a relaxed menu of dishes designed to be shared.
What's the food like? Lunch is limited to cold plates of charcuterie, cheese, seafood and too-big jars of pickles (which didn’t do it for us); house-made breads (nice but not revolutionary, and made better with butter seasoned with Brad Carter’s charcoal salt); and ‘hot sticks’ aka posh kebabs. Wild red prawns, scarlet and skewered, are life. Sweet, supremely tender, and bathing in a butter laced with lemon, garlic, herbs and togarashi (all the good stuff) – even their crunchy coats of armour are edible. Spiked chicken thighs, too, are singing with flavour, thanks to Pip’s happy globe trotting for her ingredients – a shiso leaf imparts its unique pep, while crispy chicken skin is crumbled for crunch.
The dinner menu really comes into its own, with its small plates. Brussels sprouts (with slices of crisp, cool kohlrabi) are deep-fried, topped with golden hazelnuts and a side of silky hazelnut mayo. Monkfish, on the bone, matches up to a triumphant plate celebrating jerusalem artichokes – roasted, sticky and sweet; puréed, nutty and smooth – trompette mushrooms, crunchy flaked almonds and charred chicory. The best, though, was a plate of pork collar (spiced and sliced) tossed through buttery hispi cabbage and slippery enoki mushrooms with a tartiflette-style, wine-spiked reblochon sauce. So far from Insta-pretty but the sort of food you’d sell a sibling for, it’s that good. Pecan, chilli and chocolate tart – and a ricotta ice cream providing a cooling, milky contrast – is well executed, if a little safe.
And the drinks? Efficiently curated is the theme at the Hicce bar – expect a few choice local artisans for the spirits and nearby brewed Hicce beer, served as a schooner, by Hackney Brewery. Wine comes from a select choice of small-batch, indie producers and some are even on draft – the slightly chilled Sicilian Baglio Rosso hit the spot for us. Be sure, too, to check out the well rounded cocktails, including a zingy ‘hicce’ with Ketel One citron, sake, elderflower and yuzu.
olive tip: Head here for dinner if you want the best of the menu offerings.
Hicce, Coal’s Drop Yard, King’s Cross, London N1C 4AB
Words Laura Rowe
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