Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Camino - King's Cross

It's difficult to know what to do on a bank holiday. Screaming hordes of pushchairs and children descend on everything in London, turning a gentle stroll along the Regent's Canal into a fretful dodge between the shouting, blubbering, spinning, bollard tall tots that teeter on the kerbstone edge between the towpath and the water. It doesn't help that those without children decide it's a good day to attempt a personal best in the canal side stage of the Tour De France.

Gibbering with shell shock after a frenetic early afternoon walk, a restaurant seems the best place to hunker down - eat, drink, and pass the time until the watershed is up and it's safe to venture outside again. Or at least it would, were anywhere serving food on a bank holiday. Perhaps it's not publicised in restaurant circles, but as far as I'm aware the first Monday in May has been in the diary as a holiday for some time. Surely a lucrative day for those in hospitality - a two day Sunday. Time to wheel out that roast again.

It would seem not. Grain Store were only doing a bar menu, with the waitress trying her best  p*ssed off school teacher impression - we sat for ten minutes and didn't get served - while at the Filling Station you can't eat until 6 o'clock. I have money to spend adding inches to my waistline, but clearly nobody wants it.

Thank God for Camino. Open in the afternoon and serving food. Wait though, what's this? We can't sit here? We have to order here? And the kitchen will be shut inexplicably for thirty minutes? A tradition Spanish experience I see. After an early order of various tapas that the chef managed to deliver before his mid-shift nap, we were left waiting over a few drinks, while the lights went out one-by-one and the seemingly competent staff were replaced in a single swoop with every trainee waiter in the North London area. Confusion ruled supreme as food was delivered to the wrong table, eaten, cooked again, and finally arrived, along with half our cutlery but not the rest - that took a second trip.

The food, or at least what was available (how can a tapas bar run out of peppers?), was average at best. The patatas was patatasy, the chorizo chorizoy, the baked noodle and cuttlefish dish bland and uninteresting. Nothing here is spell-binding, nothing magnificent, nothing I'd eat again in any sort of hurry. Perhaps if the staff showed a little more life, competency, or training I could be gentler, but when you have to give a lesson in how to take payment for a bill, you begin to wonder if you should be paying yourself the 10%.

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