#ChicEats | Isla At The Standard, King’s Cross, London

BY Naomi Chadderton / Aug 14 2019 / 21:19 PM

The US-import has opened its doors in the UK capital but is the food up to scratch?

#ChicEats | Isla At The Standard, King’s Cross, London
Isla Interiors by David Cleveland

Those who travel to LA, New York or Miami will be familiar with The Standard group – the quirky collection of hotels famous for its punchy interiors and laid-back casual vibe. Basically, if you’re a fashion influencer or a member of any of the city’s hip urban style sets, this is where you would hang out.

Image courtesy of David Cleveland

And now the hotel group has opened its first ever international outpost in London’s ever-evolving Kings Cross Quarter in a Brutalist property and former annex of Camden Town Hall. In other words, it’s super cool.

It’s hard to think of a recent hotel opening that’s caused as much buzz across the pond as The Standard – fingers crossed we’ll get one in Dubai sometime in the future – and it’s highly-anticipated restaurants are already drawing in the crowds.

Image courtesy of David Cleveland

An all-day venue headed up by the hotel’s executive chef Adam Rawson, Isla feels like a garden within a restaurant, filled with foilage that is also integrated with the hotel lobby and library. There’s an expansive terrace too perfect for the summer months but unfortunately this wasn’t quite ready for opening when we visited last week.

The menu focuses on Britain’s wide-ranging coastal cuisine, with a menu divided into sea, land and soil. We kicked off with some snacks including fluffy bread with salted butter and a huge bowl of Padron peppers that were perfectly seasoned with Isle of Skye salt. Beware, though – there are a few hot ones hidden in there that will literally set your tongue on fire so keep some water nearby.

Isla Vegtables, Charlie Mckay

The menu itself is extremely simple – all dishes are just described with one word alongside any accompaniments (for example ‘Salmon, beets, horseradish’) but waiters are helpful and quick to answer any questions you may have.

At the recommendation of our server, we opted to share a number of different plates between us, with four small dishes and two mains being just the right amount. If you’re not that hungry, you could definitely get away with three small plates instead of four, but any less and you’re at risk of walking away hungry.

We went for the burrata which went perfectly with the marinated tomatoes, alongside a portion of broccoli which was served as one massive stem covered in yoghurt, almonds and mustard. We also opted for the Fuzi pasta with cep mushroom, yolk and black truffle which was slightly overpowered by the mushrooms but absolutely glorious if you’re a big fan of fungi. Take note it’s a large portion though, so definitely one to share if you’re getting it for a starter.

Isla Potatoes, Charlie Mckay

Our mains came in the form of a deliciously juicy chicken breast and fresh turbot which were both light and tasty. Are only qualm would be that they don’t come served with anything and the selection of sides is rather lacking, but if you order well you won’t necessarily need any.

Isla Fish, Charlie Mckay

While the restaurant was fairly quiet when we arrived, we were there early doors for a 6pm reservation, and by the time we finished there was a nice buzz that wasn’t overpowering. Perfect when you actually want to talk and catch up with your friends rather than dine in a venue simply for its cool factor.

However next door at Double Standard – a food-focused gastro pub serving New York dive bar food and British pub classics – it absolutely heaving and would make for the perfect location for a post-dinner drink.

Image courtesy of David Cleveland

While Isla doesn’t necessarily have the feel of an exclusive, fine-dining venue, that’s not what it’s hoping to achieve. While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend you celebrate an engagement or important life event here, it’s just the spot for a casual date or dinner with friends with prices that won’t break the bank.

Ground Floor, The Standard, 10 Argyle Street, London, WC1H 8EG, islalondon.com