On our most recent lockdown visit to Granary Square and Coal Drops Yard, now a temporary car park, we did happily spot one ray of light.
Housed in one of the arches of the canal-level Tom Dixon store, it’s a multi-tasking grocery, farm shop, bakery and takeaway lunch pitstop. And it’s worth checking out.
Inside the space – social distancing measures in place, of course – you can observe a couple of chefs in an open kitchen cooking up a storm for the daily chalkboard menu.
On our visit, the salad – a snip at a fiver – promised radicchio, cashews, avocado, fennel, orange, almonds and harissa vinaigrette, while gazpacho soup was on hand for something chilled and refreshing in the hot weather. There’s also a central counter piled with blackened hunks of roasted cauliflower, potato wedges and what looked like super tasty Turkish pide.
We opted for the most filling sounding of the lunches, humbly called ‘Stew’. It was, in fact, a chicken mansaf, the Jordanian dish spiced with the likes of cumin, cloves, allspice and turmeric. A large boneless chicken thigh, its skin golden and crispy, proved exquisitely juicy, while freekah, carrots, onions and potatoes chucked in solid and nutritious back-up. And all for a tenner.
Sitting in an eerily deserted Pancras Square as we ate – usually packed with Google employees – we were reminded how quiet many Central London areas still are, compared to the busy local neighbourhoods where most of us live.
And as for Coal Drops Yard? With a dribble of other units, like the ace craft beer takeout House Of Cans, also reopening this weekend, it’s definitely worth popping back to N1C again for a gentle mooch.
Coal Office Food Hub is open Tues-Thus 12-7pm and Fri-Sun 10-7pm at Coal Drops Yard N1C. Follow them on @coaloffice. Read our original review here.