152-156 North Gower Street London, NW1 2LU www.vqrestaurants.com
Within the recently refurbished Euston Square Hotel, VQ has opened its fifth all-day café, restaurant and bar. Stephen Brocklehurst checks in
The hotel, on the corner of Euston Road and North Gower Street, is next to Euston Square tube station and a stone’s throw from Euston Station itself.
Walking in, you’re met with chic eye-catching bar. Although VQ are renowned for their cocktails (and VQ Euston has a brace of its own), M and I both start with a schooner of beer, which I reckon is designed to fit a 330ml bottle into, before moving to the dark woods and burgundy leathers of the dining area.
With the restaurant open between 6am and 2am every day, the menu is neatly portioned up into types of food, so the usual straightjacket of starters, mains and dessert doesn’t harangue some peckish traveller who’s turned up at 3pm and just fancies an omelette.
Nothing is too out of the ordinary here, either. There are omelettes, burgers and sandwiches and pasta as well as ‘classics’ such as fish and chips, BBQ baby back ribs and Ribeye steak with chunky chips.
M and I go for the three courses plus a soft and luscious bottle of Cabernet Merlot.
Our starters are a meze platter and a BBQ pulled pork and vegetable spring roll. The spring roll is sizeable and stuffed to the rafters with pulled pork. It is though a little lacking in flavour and requires the plum dipping sauce to give it a bit of pep. M is similarly downbeat about his falafel balls.
For mains, I choose a Chicken Kiev. M considers this a ‘Hotel Restaurant’, and with their clientele just here for a short stay and wanting something familiar they’d want to rely on, he chooses just that, going for the steak and chips.
The ribeye is ordered medium and it comes out just right; pink and juicy. The chips are fat and stumpy affairs, wonderfully crisp with a floury, fluffy interior. M seems particularly happy.
My Kiev is similarly well-cooked. With a crunchy breadcrumb coating, the chicken is wonderfully succulent, although lacks any, how can I say it, ‘ooze’.
A search party is sent out and finds a wealth of garlic and cooked parsley, but sadly no similarly flavoursome puddle of butter. My heart, at least, is thankful. The salad of butter beans and rocket is particularly toothsome and partners well with the chicken.
The Eton Mess I order for desert looks more like a sundae without the ice cream. It is fruity, with the addition of blueberries as well as strawberries, more than creamy, and has substantial chunks of meringue.
M’s sticky toffee pudding is much more recognisable. A rectangle of light texture and dark colour, crowned with a hearty globe of vanilla ice cream, this is just the familiar food M was talking about previously and is welcomed like an old friend.
With casual, but attentive service, the restaurant is a decent addition, both to the VQ stable and the boutique Euston Square Hotel. Whether you’re a tourist or just looking for a decent meal at a fair price, you won’t go far wrong.