When I first walked past Coal Office in Coal Drops Yard, I wasn’t expecting Israeli, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. In fact, I only discovered that the acclaimed Chef Assaf Granit was behind this restaurant, when I started writing this restaurant review. He’s the same chef behind the two renowned restaurants in London: The Palomar and The Barbary.
Coal Drops Yard – Latest Addition to Supergentrified Kings Cross
Coal Drops Yard is the latest curation of beautiful restaurants and shops added to Kings Cross. It opened in late-2018 and is probably my favourite part of the now supergentrified Kings Cross. It’s reason enough to spend a Saturday/Sunday afternoon in Kings Cross! Plus, you can even combine this with a leisurely walk along the Regent’s Canal to Camden Town and even Regent’s Park.
In fact, another one of my all-time favourite restaurants, Barrafina, has also opened in Coal Drops Yard. This new branch is equally delicious, and with much shorter queues than the Soho branch. It’s a restaurant I always recommend to anyone visiting London for the first time.
Coal Office – Unique Brunch Menu
At Coal Office, we luckily got a table (by the bar), without a reservation on a Sunday afternoon. The bar table was actually a great experience. It was almost heartwarming to watch how genuinely passionate the chefs were while creating each of our dishes.
As we scanned the menu, we realised it definitely wasn’t the conventional brunch spot I would usually have in mind. No pancakes. (But if you are looking for pancakes specifically, here are 5 of the best pancakes you need to try in London).
At that moment, the waiter mentioned that dishes are Israeli-Mediterannean inspired and coincidentally said “you won’t find the typical brunch dishes here, because we don’t want to be like that.” We kind of loved that.
Lions Gate Pretzel w/ Green Harissa & Dry Za’atar – GBP5
Kickstarting the meal with the “Coal & Wood” section – essentially their homemade breads – the Lions Gate Pretzel itself was quite good. But it was really the dips and spices on the side that made it even more interesting. Actually, the pair next to us ordered Kubalah (brioche style bread) and it looked even better… Maybe I’m just feeling food-fomo.
Josperized Aubergine w/ Green Tahini, Pistachio – GBP10 *must order*
At one point, five of the same dishes came out of the kitchen at the same time. I had to be a follower and insisted we order it too.
Coal Office perfectly over roasted these aubergines and gave it that pleasantly strong charcoal aroma. The aubergines also had an extremely creamy, soft breakable texture. The dish was so well-decorated with an interesting mix ingredients making it extremely flavourful. I would try to describe it more, but I feel like there’s no description I could pen down to give this dish justice. Trust me, the crowd was right, just order it.
Kubenedictus – Ox Cheeks, Poached Egg, Feta, Hollandaise – GBP15 *must order*
If you’re looking for a dish with the brunchy feels, this is the one. The Kubenedictus is like an eggs benedict, except much more complex. Instead of ham or smoked salmon, they use a generous helping of fork-tender ox cheek that must’ve been cooked for ages. This goes excellently with the delicious homemade brioche bread which soaks up all the juices and hollandaise. It’s bursting with flavours like most other dishes and was definitely another favourite dish here.
Seabass Chraime – Tomatoes & Pepper Stew – GBP18
The Shakshuka (another eggs dish) was also tempting at first. But I ultimately ordered the Seabass Chraime for its uniqueness, since it’s not something you usually see at restaurants for brunch. The dish had that shakshuka-style tomatoes & pepper stew, but was then topped with grilled seabass and some chickpeas.
A New Favourite Restaurant
I didn’t know much about Coal Office before we unexpectedly turned up one Sunday. Without knowing its background and the acclaimed chef behind it, we were unbiasedly impressed!
A lot of foodie friends had recommended The Palomar to us before (the acclaimed restaurant this chef is known for). While we enjoyed the food at The Palomar, we loved Coal Office even more. The vibe is quite different; the decor felt slightly more upscale and the ambience was more refined and comfortable. Moreover, the service and incredibly passionate staff just made the whole experience more enjoyable too.
I definitely hope the vibe stays this way, because I’m adding it to one of my favourite restaurants in London!
If you’re looking for more unique brunch spots in London, OPSO is another one of my favourites. They serve Greek-style brunches.
Coal Drops Yard
2 Bagley Walk
Spend per person: GBP30 per person (for brunch, without alcohol)