Review: VOC Cocktail Bar and Grill, King's Cross
Style Points: 3/5
When you enter VOC it looks a bit like a homey pub. There are chairs and book shelves, lamps and bricks and really just general decor that looks like it belongs in the study. The Bar section fairly dark and on the Friday evening we went was plenty crowded.
Once you make your way through the crowd at the bar you can go up a few stairs to the dining area which is quite a stark contrast. It’s not bright exactly, but much brighter with light coloured walls and much more minimal decor.
We sat at the table along the back wall. As we looked at the menu we realised that VOC (which I thought was a really weird name) is actually the old Dutch East Indian trading company. It was an incredibly powerful as a company in the 17th century and the influence of the spice trade could definitely be seen in some of the cocktails on the menu.
Would I Want Seconds?
We of course had to order a cocktail as you can’t go to a cocktail bar and not - even if you did go for dinner. I spotted the Dog’s Nose (£10) and thought it looked intriguing as I like citrus, spice and vanilla sugar - all of which can be found in this drink. I totally missed the part where it says that it’s warmed however and that came as quite a shock…as did the strength of the drink! My husband on the other hand ordered a significantly fruitier drink, the Raspberry Shrub(£11) which was probably a bit more to both of our tastes. I kind of wish we’d been able to try a few more drinks but as strong as they were we definitely didn’t want to overdo it!
I’ve taken a liking to calamari as of late so I ordered the Panko Calamari (£5.5) which was tasty but nothing stand out. Part of me wishes I had gotten the nachos instead. My husband on the other hand had the Chicken Wings (£5.5) which were incredibly spicy (though he likes that) and even messier. I have to say I’ve never understood the obsession with wings that seems to run rampant back in the States. I don’t enjoy eating the tiny little wings and getting the sauce all over my face - even if they do taste nice. Now boneless wings…I’d take those in a heartbeat!
Could I Afford Seconds?
The meal was actually really affordable. I think I expected it to be a bit more pricey when I walked in, but I think £9-10 for a main is really reasonable. To be honest the cocktails are not too pricey either, but if you want to try a few they’ll add up quickly. It’s a shame they don’t seem to do a happy hour. They do however have some reasonable wines and beers so you do always have that option - but really, who goes to a cocktail bar and has beer!
Overall I enjoyed my evening. It was a moderate, affordable night out. The staff were friendly and helpful and the service was quick enough. When we first arrived the dining area was quite empty, but as we ate our meal it really filled up.
If you do want a decent, affordable burger and you’re looking for a dining option in King’s Cross - then you’ll be making a good choice if you give VOC a try. And if you go, order the White Port Tea and send me a picture because I want to see this mini-tankard and didn’t even notice it when we were there as it’s at the bottom of the list!
Address: 2 Varnishers Yard, London N1 9AW
Closest Tube Station: King’s Cross