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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Megaro Bar, King's Cross



After a shortish stint as Karpo, this King's Cross cocktail lounge has been rebranded Megaro bar, after the hotel whose basement it occupies. To mark the name change, it's had a makeover too; the new conceit, a photographer's dark room circa early Kodakchrome. Split into two areas, a rear lounge, lit deep red (what else?), has leather banquette, old plush, flip-down cinema seats and hard, resin-coated cross sections of some kind of tree stump - quite the most uncomfortable stump - short of being impaled in some very dark amputee porn video (a lucrative niche market, I'm told). We move to a second room whose only uncomfortable feature is a too-busy colour portrait gallery of local faces and customers; like stock shots shortlisted for a building society’s new touchy-feely brochure, where prints by Bailey, Horst or Arbus would work better.  I should, at this point, fess up to the fact that the good people at Megaro are running a free tab for me and three muckers. I can honestly say that elegant signature cocktails such as Land of Grace (Diplomatico Reserva, white port and clover honey), Beefeater-based Lavender Hill Mob fizz, and a pisco and pear daisy would have been almost as enjoyable had I been paying for them out of my own pocket. Of course, if I had a spare £500 - for that's the damage - I'd have spent it on summat less friv; like the 25% deposit on the dental implant currently under construction after a rogue Brazil nut picked a fight with a battle-weary molar in my mush. Off-menu curveballs - a request for a Brooklyn - are competently fielded, while snacks (the freebie wasn't entirely blown on booze) are hit and miss. Watermelon lemon olive and feta sashimi-style, and foie gras parfait both get the thumbs-up, but beef carpaccio is doused in too salty soy, and wilted broccoli spears with hollandaise are all too literally limp. Fake photographer's dark room Megaro could develop a fashionable following, given the right exposure: I worry its location, adrift of the main King's Cross buzz, could see it edited out of the picture. This would be a pity.

Belgrove Street WC1H 8AB 7843 2222 http://www.megarobar.co.uk/