Review: Camino, King’s Cross


Exceptional tapas at this ever popular longrunning Spanish restaurant in Varnisher’s Yard



Camino has a terrace to dine on and a bustling courtyard drinking space. Photo: PR
Camino has a terrace to dine on and a bustling courtyard drinking space. Photo: PR
It’s been open nearly a decade, but did you know Camino started the vogue for huge, upmarket restaurants in the area?

It also boasts a useful all-year-round outside space. In fact, Varnisher’s Yard evokes a hip corner of Barcelona, with its bright red-painted barrels, olive trees, vast canopy and low clubby seating – and the buzz of international voices, whatever the day or season. It’s probably the most sheltered European-style square in the capital, too.

Pan con tomate at Camino. Photo: LBTM
Pan con tomate at Camino. Photo: LBTM
On our invited visit it’s another dismally grey June lunchtime. The idea was, of course, to sit outside on the west-facing dining terrace, but once again the weather has seen to that, and we’re ensconced inside in a cosy booth-for-two, perhaps better suited to couples than colleagues. At least an open kitchen and glass roof ensure the temperature inside is swelteringly Mediterranean.

But the cooking is worth breaking into a sweat for: this is tapas to transport you to the best discovery in Spain. Pan con tomate has just a lick of paprika, its smokiness adding depth to the fresh, garlicky tomatoes. A huge prawn is the least interesting thing alongside a pile of gorgeously saffron cuttlefish rice. Octopus again demonstrates the head chef’s propensity towards paprika, but its salty chargrilled flavour is winningly moreish. Sautéed violet artichokes are an imaginative creation of sweet, creamy almond sauce and ribbons of spring onion. Our only point? It could have used some bread to mop it up with.


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Juicily pink: Iberica presa at Camino. Photo: LBTM
Juicily pink: Iberico presa at Camino. Photo: LBTM
It’s the two pork dishes, however, that really excel. Suckling pig is meltingly tender, the accompanying apple puree sweet rather than sharp, heightening its luxuriousness. And the must-order is Iberica presa, the shoulder cut (some call it the “wagyu” of pork) served rare or medium rare like fillet steak. The best example I’ve ever eaten was at Ember Yard in Soho: yet here it’s nearly as good, sliced and chargrilled beautifully, seasoned correctly, and exuding a pillowy quality. It doesn’t need the distraction of the – admittedly delicious – rice studded with Iberican ham and Idiazabal cheese. But we gulp it all down nonetheless.

And with that it’s back out into the steely skies. But whatever the weather, either before or after you eat, it’s worth lingering outside with a large glass of Verdejo; a true holiday moment.

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Tapas from £3 to £19.75. Most plates are around £7. Iberica presa is £12.50. Find Camino at Varnisher’s Yard, N1. For more places to dine outside in the area read our guide here

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