I was recently invited back to VOC Cocktail bar and restaurant which I had the pleasure of visiting a while ago. This foodie gem in a hidden courtyard located away from the hustle and bustle of Kings Cross is definitely worth a visit.
The new menu is inspired by the traders and adventurers of the 17th Century. It takes diners on a culinary adventure of small plates across three key territories: ‘From the Sea’; ‘From the Land’ and ‘From the Field’. By encouraging diners to select 2-3 small plates each this concept encourages communal dining in a warm and cosy environment.
We enjoyed some lovely welcome cocktails. I went for a Raspberry Shrub which is bottle
matured for at least one week and is made using Pampero Especial with fresh lemon juice, honey and fresh raspberries. It is a sweet cocktail which I enjoyed and I particularly like the way in which it was presented. My friend enjoyed The Butterfly which consists of Spiced rum, ginger liqueur & coconut, topped with ginger beer & served with dried lime & a splash of liquorice which was not too sweet and had a great ginger flavour.
From the menu we selected six dishes, two from each territory. From The Sea we selected: Sea Farer Batativa Scallops with Dutch Gin, Baby Greens and Tomato Salsa, Garlic Pan Fried Prawns with chilli.
From the land we selected; Scottish Blackface Lamb, assorted Herb Crusted lamb cutlets served with petite grilled veg along with Grilled Veal Kalbi, Korean marinated veal with wild mushrooms.
From the field: Chargrilled ribbons of Aubergine & Courgette with Feta, sweet basil and lemon as well as Patatas Bravas, cubed roasted potatoes.
Of all the six small dishes my favouries were the Blackface lamb and the Pan Fried Prawns. They were just so perfectly cooked and succulent that you would be forgiven for ordering more. My friend felt that the prawns were too greasy but I really enjoyed them and in that moment you could see why small plates simply aren’t big enough! The scallops were really well marinated and the veal slices were tender. Whilst I enjoyed the vegetable small dishes they did not stand out, perhaps I should have tried something more unusual like the Salt Beetroot Carpaccio. I shall definitely try different “From The Field” dishes when I return.
Whilst I am not the biggest dessert fan it would have been rude not to taste the sweet treats on the menu! We went for the Chocolate Mousse with Crunchy Gianduia Core and Chocolate Biscuit Base and Pastry Cream with a Hint of Lemon Short Pastry Base. Desserts are not served as small plates but we did end up sharing, I actually enjoyed both but the chocolate mousse was the clear winner.
All in all VOC is a great restaurant for any occasion. There is an attention to detail with regards to the food that means that it is definitely one step ahead of an average restaurant. The quality of ingredients and the creative thought put into creating this new small menu cannot be overlooked. The customer service and atmosphere are really great too. Make sure you take a moment to step into this hidden gem in the heart of London, you really won’t be disappointed.
VOC Cocktail Bar and Restaurant
2 Varnishers Yard, London N1 9AW.