Helmed by brothers Keith (also behind the legendary Fabric) and Billy Reilly, the original iteration of The Cross was a clubbing icon in the 90s. While it closed back in 2007 to make way for the regeneration of King's Cross, the party spot built a reputation among Islington locals and ravers from afar. And now, 15 years later, the new reincarnation, led by husband and wife duo Billy and Gemma Reilly, is back and – literally – bigger than ever, with a multifaceted venue tucked away in N1.
Spread across six spacious floors, The Cross 2.0 encompasses a restaurant, rooftop, nightclub, multiple bars, and various private hire spaces. These guys aren’t doing anything by halves. Making our way past the bare-bricked, low-lit bar area, we ventured upstairs where the restaurant was first port of call on a rainy Saturday night.
Dusty pink panelled walls and decadent lighting set a luxurious tone for leather chairs and marbled accents. It was cocktails first, as usual, with our coconut margaritas (£12) softened by Cazcabel coconut tequila, Cointreau and citrus. Though I was initially dubious of the combination, it was a gentle take on the classic and beautifully finished with a coconut rim.
The food offering is split between snacks, small plates, salads and sides… naturally we had to try a bit of everything. Meaty prawns (£25) arrived charred and resting on a bed of chewy, cognac-doused fregola, as lamb cutlets (£18) were served pink and sprinkled with a douse of chimichurri. Tasty, but not enough for the hefty price tag. Luscious beef carpaccio (£13), however, was a highlight, while a citrusy ceviche-like scallop crudo (£20) gave a gorgeous tangy hit with the addition of fresh fruit.
Diving back into the drinks menu, it was a woo woo 2.0 (£12) for my dinner date and a hazelnut old fashioned (£14) for me. Mine, a classic, was delicious, but marred by unnecessary shards of ice. Then there was the woo woo; we took a chance, hoping it would be a quirky take on the freshers fave, but it tasted more like fruit juice with a lacklustre painted garnish. Luckily, the white chocolate cheesecake (£8) was on hand to lighten things. Taking us back to Milky Bar days, it was creamy, indulgent, and topped with freeze dried raspberries to cut through the sweetness.
As our meal ended around 9pm, tables were starting to fill up. Evidently one for night owls, The Cross promises DJs, live music and more until the early hours. We couldn’t leave without sneaking a peek upstairs; through the red room (which had been hired for a buzzing party), and the spacious rooftop which is sure to be a summertime hit.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Somehow still something of a King's Cross secret, this spacious venue is worth a visit if you're after a late night out in uber-cool surroundings. While the menu could do with a few tweaks, the vibrant atmosphere makes this a prime pick for groups, dates, and cocktail-fuelled partying. My next birthday? You just might find me celebrating here.
💰 The damage: around £150 for a meal with drinks for two.
📍 The location: 2-4 Wharfdale Rd., London N1 9RY.
👌 Perfect for: buzzing nights and private parties.
⭐ Need to know: don't miss the rooftop area and underground nightclub.
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