Sizzling atmosphere steals the show at Decimo
An instant hit when it first opened in 2019, bar and restaurant has managed to sustain this buzz and seductive atmosphere
25 November, 2021 — By Tom Moggach
Brunch Decimo-style, where Mexican influences infuse the menu
IT’S an unlikely spot for a magical journey – an ex-council building on the grimy Euston Road. But step inside the pill-shaped red lift and you’re swiftly transported to another world.
Decimo is high on the 10th floor of The Standard, London – a swanky hotel in King’s Cross. This bar and restaurant was an instant hit when it first opened in 2019, building a reputation for a glitzy clientele and legendary A-list parties.
Amazingly, Decimo has managed to sustain this buzz and seductive atmosphere ever since, which is the holy grail of the fickle restaurant world. We went for lunch – or what they call brunch – and spent a happy afternoon in a sense of revery.
The views are jaw-dropping. Whizzing up in the lift, you will gawp at the gothic majesty of the Saint Pancras Renaissance Hotel opposite, then out, above the spires, onto the soothing green of Hampstead Heath. Nip to the loos – a marvel in themselves – and you can take in the City of London.
The décor is also epic in scale. The retro vibe is perhaps 1970s Los Angeles, with a nod to the Mexican influences that also infuse the menu.
The windows stretch floor to ceiling. Look up, and there’s jigsaw of intricate rattan tiles overhead; below your feet, the carpets are a swirl of psychedelia.
It’s a huge space, where flames flicker from an open hearth and the elaborate wood-fired grills in the kitchen, where chefs crank chains and pulleys.
In a highly styled place like this, the food can often be a disappointment. The short menu at Decimo is a mixture of Spanish and Mexican dishes, designed to share. Marinated red peppers (£7) is a signature dish. Charred peppers are skinned, finely chopped then mixed with herbs and cold pressed olive oil. A neat disc of this paste arrives on a block of white marble – thrillingly intense in flavour.
We shared each of their three tacos (around £8 each) – all carefully composed and reverentially served. One is a textural riff on cauliflower, with the vegetable puréed with sesame, sautéed and shaved raw, then finished with a squeeze of lime and green chilli sauce.
In another, there’s a glistening link of chistorra sausage on a base of black beans, with puffs of pork crackling for crunch. You will find a terrific guacamole, tortillas, Huevos a la Flamenca and skewers of plump red prawns and Iberico pork.
It’s all done very well, with quality ingredients – although it’s the sizzling atmosphere of the place that steals the show.
You could splash a lot of cash at Decimo. The wine list is hefty – focusing mainly on Spain. There are three pages of mezcals, including rare bottles made from wild-harvested agaves.
But the unforgettable views and atmosphere are absolutely free – or yours for the price of a drink at the bar. Just make sure to book in advance.
Decimo at The Standard, London
10 Argyle Street, WC1H
020 3981 8888