New? The latest addition to King’s Cross’ Granary Square, The Lighterman opened back in March.
Where? 3 Granary Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4BH www.thelighterman.co.uk
On The Menu: In the ‘pub, dining room and bar’, the all-day menu is Modern British and the kitchen is headed up by Executive Chef Diego Cardoso. They pride themselves on use of local and seasonal ingredients, with a wood-fired grill section on the menu including everything from 750g Aberdeen Angus rib for two to share to salmon steak on the bone.
First Impressions: Granary Square was buzzing when we visited, even though it was a Tuesday – something to do with the ridiculously hot weather… The outdoor terrace was packed with rosé-drinking groups of friends, whilst upstairs, our table overlooked Regents Canal but from the comfort of the air conditioned indoor area.
The Look: Modern, industrial and airy, The Lighterman’s name comes from the Victorian Lightermen who worked on barges known as ‘Lighters’ on the canal and this industrial feel is reflected throughout with lots of natural wood and floor to ceiling glass windows, with the bar the main feature on both floors.
What We Ate: Skipping individual starters in favour of a mozzarella, spicy sausage and red onion spelt flatbread (basically a pizza) was a good decision taste-wise, but pushed the definition of ‘arrives when ready’ as, 45 minutes after being seated, we were still sitting patiently. This pace continued into the main course as it was a further half an hour for my guest’s fridge-cold chicken salad and my (admittedly hot) salmon steak. Served on the bone, the salmon was crisp on the outside and a hunky portion, but the side serving of ‘seasonal greens’ was uninspiring, tasteless and overcooked and as it came on the same plate made me question whether it was what the veg I had ordered or whether it just came with the salmon. Had we left at this point we would’ve been disappointed, but thankfully the need for a sugar hit took over and the sticky toffee pudding and peanut butter parfait left us wondering if a different chef had walked in and taken over. They came swiftly and with an enthusiastic and genuine “great decision” from both the waiter who took our order and the one who brought them out.
What We Drank: Independent craft beers and biodynamic, sustainable wines made up a thoughtful drinks menu, but my seasonal G&T; Hepple Gin, Fever Tree tonic, physaslis and lemon balm with a generous sprig of mint and my guest’s carrot, apple and ginger juice went down a treat.
Go With: Popular with groups of friends post-work, there were also a couple of birthdays being celebrated.
Final Word: Whilst our experience was disappointing, the staff were apologetic and attentive and the puddings meant things ended things on a better note. Although it shouldn’t have happened, I think the kitchen were just having a bad day, so will hopefully polish service before what will be a busy summer season, when the appeal of canal-side dining is sure to draw the crowds.