Actor’s wine bar has a starring role in the new King’s Cross

Classy Porte Noire, opened by Idris Elba, is nestled in one of the landmark gasholders

Thursday, 31st March — By Tom Moggach


Sharing charcuterie from the all-day menu at Porte Noire

THERE’S a new chapter in the King’s Cross story – and just in time for spring.

After four years of building work and tortuous delays, Camley Street Natural Park has finally re-opened along with the new Kingfisher Café.

Cross the canal bridge and swoop right for Coal Drops Yard, where the bars and restaurants are humming once again.

Walk left, along the lushly planted towpath, and you reach the Gasholders buildings, now home to fancy flats with vertiginous views.

Porte Noire is nestled at the base of the first of these three cast-iron towers.

It’s a wine bar and shop opened by actor and producer Idris Elba around five months ago.

The star launched his own champagne brand, also called Porte Noire, and has partnered with David Farber to create a heavenly wine nirvana.

Inside you’ll find around 800 bottles on display, along with rare whiskeys, sakes and geeky gadgets – truffle shavers and wine aerators, to name just a few.

You can grab a bottle to take home, with plenty of choice around £20. But make sure to gawp in the fine wine room, too, where they display heavyweight vintages such as a Chateau Cheval Blanc, 2000.

We took a table outside and happily watched the sun set behind the old Lock Keeper’s Cottage.

This area of the King’s Cross development is now hitting its stride. There was a steady stream of passers-by of all shapes and sizes.

Some walked dogs, pushed buggies, smooched with lovers or dodged daredevil Deliveroo drivers on electric scooters.

Beyond the canal, you can watch the high-speed trains accelerate out towards Kent, with the BT Tower in the background.

It’s a lovely spot – and the food and wine is rather good, too.

We sampled the Porte Noire bubbles and browsed the all-day food menu: short and stylish, with plenty of sharing dishes such as charcuterie sliced to order.

To begin, truffled fries with a flurry of grated pecorino and a special of sea bream ceviche

This dish was well put together, the fish floating in a thick Leche de Tigre blitzed with citrus and Amarillo chillies.

The chef made clever use of texture, mixing in soft boiled corn kernels, diced sweet potato and roasted corn for crunch. The garnish was an elegant tangle of coriander, red onion and red chilli.

Next up, a surprisingly light tartiflette – that classic French dish of slow-baked potato with Reblochon cheese and smoked lardons.

To counter the richness, a salad of endive with candied walnuts then a final forkful of cheesecake, intensely flavoured with Matcha green tea.

Porte Noire is a classy creation but did not feel too stuffy and pretentious. This is down, in part, to the surprising sense of humour displayed by one of the staff, who had chalked up signs such as one declaring: “Take Me Drunk, I’m Home!”

Porte Noire
Unit A Gasholder 10,
1 Lewis Cubitt Square, N1C 4BY

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