Norfolk Arms

Moving on from the all too common pub serving Thai food I present to you the tapas pub. Tucked away in a little back street in Kings Cross, the Norfolk Arms looks like any old pub until you clock the legs of jamon hanging in the window. Rather than burgers and pies on the menu, the Norfolk Arms offers a variety of tapas along and some Spanish influenced main meals as well.

I am at the Norfolk Arms with my friends Sully, Charlotte and Johanna. Since we are in a Spanish pub we order a jug of sangria to start (£13.50) and then select from the tapas on offer to share. These are the joys of dining in a group, shared food. However disappointingly, all the tapas we order with the exception of one dish, is served cold. While I understand that jamon and olives are served cold, I would expect grilled octopus to actually be cooked.
Putting that aside, if you head to the Norfolk Arms – here is what I would order and what I would skip. To start, you have to have the charcuterie platter (£8.50) which is a board bearing jamon and chorizo served with a small saucer of finely diced parsley, egg and garlic. You should also order the salty and delicious boqerones (£2.50) which were so good that we had to order two plates of them. Finally, try the chickpea and tomato stew (the only dish that was served hot) which comes in a little terracotta dish and is flavoursome and moreish.
Skip the babaganoush which has a flavour which is more burnt than smoked and left us all puckering our mouths (£3.50). I also wouldn’t bother with the grilled octopus which is cold (as I said earlier) and on the rubbery side (£6.00). The grilled mushrooms (£4.50) are not offensive but neither are they memorable.
The Spanish influence is abandoned for the desserts which are all tried and tested British puddings. Apple crumble (£4.50) is on the menu and is suitably crispy and packed with golden apples. The toffee ice-cream served with biscotti is nice enough but it is probably unnecessary to pay £5.50 for two scoops of forgettable ice-cream.
A pub serving tapas sounded like it may be a welcome change, however on second thoughts it is probably best to stick to those Thai pubs.
Details: 28 Leigh Street, Kings Cross WC1H9EP (Ph 020 7388 3937) Tube: Kings Cross
Damage: Reasonable
Forget a Spanish pub, go to an actual Spanish restaurant like Barrafina. If you are actually looking for a Thai pub after I banged on about them for the whole post, try The Pineapple in Kentish Town.

Norfolk Arms on Urbanspoon


  1. Oh, what a shame the food wasn’t up to scratch. I love the idea of a pub serving tapas, it has a lot of potential I think but it obviously needs to be good food.

  2. I’m not a fan of this place mainly due to the poor service. Waiters shouldn’t shrug their shoulders when you ask them whether a certain bottle of wine is any good. And nor should ever hear the words ‘I’m not sure it’s my first day’ from a waitress when you ask about a dish on the menu.

    If you’re in the Kings X area, try Camino instead for tapas and drinks – far better quality all round and they have table football too.

  3. I’ve been eyeing this place, I’m sure someone told me a while ago it was good, can’t remember who now. But by the sounds of your visit GC, seems the advice was bad.

  4. Kerri – I know – great concept but failed in execution

    Mr Noodles – I read a few reviews that mentioned the poor service but I have to say that wasn’t really a problem on our visit it was just the food that did not impress

    Dan – The Fay Maschler review (which was done a few years ago) and Time Out’s are quite glowing so maybe we just had a bad experience.

  5. Try the Queens Head and Artichoke at the end of Drummond Street near Great Portland St tube. Does both main meals (v. nice) and tapas (large portions, great price) and has a great atmosphere.

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