Lunching at Konstam in King’s Cross

Pork Belly Sandwich from Konstam

Regular readers and fellow twitterers will know that I am a big fan of pork belly! An inexpensive but delicious cut of meat, that is transformed into a thing of crispy wonder when given the right amount of care and attention. Spiced with star anise or sweetened with cider and sporting a crispy coat of crackling, it is one of my favourite things to eat in this world.

Konstam at the Price Albert

So, you can imagine my delight when a restaurant local to work started serving pork belly sandwiches at lunch time. Not just any restaurant either, but Oliver Rowe’s Konstam at the Price Albert, a restaurant where most of the produce (where possible) is sourced from within the M25. Many of you will be familiar with it from the TV show, The Urban Chef, that tracked the setup and opening of this fine establishment.

Prior to opening Konstam at the Prince Albert, Oliver ran a cafe of the same name (Konstam). of which I was a big fan and I was disappointed when it closed in favour of the restaurant. Not that I don’t appreciate the fine dining options on offer there, it’s simply not in my price range for a regular lunch. The new lunch menu is of a similar ilk to the old cafe. It changes regularly and features the finest sandwiches including my favourite hot roast pork belly, remoulade and parseley sandwich; chicken and dill mayonnaise; roast winter squash marjoram and lemon; Quicke’s cheddar, marrow chutney and mizuna and many more. The salads are wonderful, fresh, vibrant and dressed beautifully and the soups are packed with flavour and colour e.g Hillingdon beetroot and vodka soup with sour cream and roast butternut soup with Norbury blue & walnuts. There are also more traditional main courses at normal a la carte prices like pan roast Mersea sea bass, jerusalem artichoke pierogi, slow-cooked shoulder of Amersham mutton and braised Amersham pheasant legs.

salad plate at Konstam

Most of the menu is available for take away and I really can’t recommend it enough. It takes a little longer than your average sandwich but that’s because it’s not your average sandwich and it’s an absolute pleasure to watch the chef take the enormous pork belly out of the oven and cut your bit, placing it tenderly between two slices of sourdough, caressed by remoulade and tickled by parsley. The delicate flesh and the crispy crackling, with the fat seeping into the bread. Sounds wrong but it’s oh-so-right. Oh god, I want one now.

I’ve tried a number of dishes and the food, as a rule, is delicious and freshly made while you wait. If you don’t believe me, they were featured in the Time Out lunch feature last week, which reminded me, that I should really blog about the wonder that is the Konstam pork belly sandwich.

So, if you’re in London, try it out! I doubt you’ll be disappointed, I’ve dragged most of my friends there by now and they’re in agreement with me. If you’re not in London, I recommend you try a homemade version for a winter lunch. It’s medicinal and food for the soul and will get you through these next dark days leading to the Winter solstice.

pork belly sandwich at Konstam


The Duke of Cambridge

Inspired by my recent jaunt to Acorn House, on my doorstep for the last year but unexplored territory, I decided that I really should go to the Duke of Cambridge in Islington soon. I didn’t expect it to be quite so soon, I was meeting friends for lunch last weekend. It needed to be child friendly and nice as, with a newborn baby, my friend doesn’t get out that often these days. A friend with a child suggested that we try the Duke of Cambridge.

I called on Friday evening to book a table for lunchtime the next day. They said that only one table was booked, so we didn’t need to worry, but as I was on the phone I thought that I might as well just book a table. I’m glad I did as when we got there for lunch on Saturday it was packed. Situated on St Peter St, just off Essex Rd in Islington, the Duke of Cambridge is set on a street corner, with lots of windows looking into quite a nice looking refurbished pub. Our table was towards the back by the open kitchen, in a conservatory.

For those of you that don’t know of it, the Duke of Cambridge was Britain’s first organic gastropub. It has been brought to my attention a number of times, most recently in the Oberver Food Monthly Eco Awards, with Geetie Singh reaching number 16 on their top 40 list. It has also been listed on the Best Sunday Lunch OFM lists twice. It’s had positive reviews in far too many places for me to list here and maintain your interest!

They use seasonal, fresh, local and organic ingredients, and most foods, from bread to ice cream are made on the premises. The menu changes twice daily and is determined by what the supplier delivers. They have an ethical fish policy, farmed salmon and trout is organic, wild fish is caught off the coast of Britain – on the South and South East coasts where possible to minimise food miles and they only purchase fish caught using sustainable fishing methods. In addition to this fish is purchased seasonally and outside of breeding seasons. Their policy is approved by the Marine Conservation Society.

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