Coal Drops Yard sticks are hot
Hicce – pronounced ee-chay – has some spectacular dishes at the new space in King’s Cross
14 November, 2019 — By Tom Moggach
Dishes at Hicce have a flair for colour and composition
WITH the festive lights twinkling, it’s a fine time to dig deeper into Coal Drops Yard.
If you’ve not yet paid a visit, this new space in King’s Cross may stir the emotions. The architecture takes your breath away; the abundance of choice makes you dizzy. Coal Drops Yard is populated with restaurants, bars and high-end designer shops – many from smaller independent brands that may well be unfamiliar.
I’ve dined here several times, but only recently had the courage to go Christmas shopping.
Some price tags are eye-watering; but I left happy – you can discover some well-priced and unusual creations.
Fortify yourself first with food and drink. My latest discovery is a restaurant called Hicce, pronounced ee-chay and meaning “of the moment” in Latin.
Hicce occupies the top floor of a shop called Wolf and Badger and is a model of industrial chic.
The restaurant is open from noon until late, so you can grab a quick drink if you’re not eating.
There’s a vast list of high-grade teas, non-alcoholic cocktails, spritzes, sakes, cocktails and biodynamic wines.
For a treat, ask for their digestif menu. I’m still savouring their liquid take on a Black Forest gateau: a luxurious blend of cherry-infused brandy, vintage rosé vermouth, chocolate bitters and double cream.
The menu here is hard to pin down – modern, minimal and global in influence – and centred around the wood-fired oven.
Some dishes are spectacular, with a flair for colour and composition that reflects the pedigree and technical skill of the head chef.
The co-owner here is a woman called Pip Lacey, who won the Great British Menu and shot through the ranks at Michelin-starred Murano in Mayfair.
Start by pick-and-mixing from the snacky starters, served on wooden boards. The warm rye bread is fabulous and a bargain at £2, served with a quenelle of butter dusted with charcoal salt.
Add your choice of charcuterie, home-made pickles, cheeses or vegetarian and fishy options.
Top marks for a simple but effective pairing of roasted Jerusalem artichokes with a dusting of salted ricotta.
In another, a fennel bulb is shaved lengthways into fine ribbons then mixed with shelled mussels, seaweed and flecks of fresh herbs – a creative Scandi-style dish that cried out for a heftier squeeze of citrus.
The menu moves on to “hot sticks” or short skewers.
I went for full-on, Asian flavours: crispy duck with soy-glazed King Oyster mushroom and water chestnuts.
Hicce offers around 10 larger dishes, priced £12-18. My baked celeriac was star of the show.
Lightly charred chunks nestle on a velvety purée, with cubes of zingy Granny Smith, slivers of radish, pickled walnut and delicate fronds of dill, with a grating of carrot for colour and crunch.
Priced £9, this dish exemplifies the best moments at Coal Drops Yard – when the balance of quality to value feels just right.
102 Stable Street,
Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross, N1C
020 3869 8200