Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Brunch Club - November: Karpo and The House of Illustration

So we sort of combined brunch club for October and November. I really wanted to visit the Quentin Blake exhibition at the House of Illustration, but we didn't have much free time in October and it was closing in early November, so we booked it in for the first Saturday of the month and decided to skip October. Having decided on the museum venue all that was left was for me to pull up my handy brunch-spot spreadsheet and find an appropriately-placed one to visit. Karpo, in King's Cross, it was...

There was a bit of a kerfuffle when we first got to Karpo as they couldn't find our reservation details (the usual story), but that was soon rectified and we took our seats. We were sat right by the open-kitchen window, which varied between being frustrating as we saw all the delicious-looking food come out and fascinating as we eyeballed the chefs doing their thing. Feeling piggy and already in holiday mode we both decided to order the £10 cooked breakfast (scrambled egg with sausage, bacon, portobello mushroom, beans and sourdough toast). Upon arrival it looked just as hearty as I was hoping, although being a MASSIVE piggy I could probably have done with an extra sausage. Everything was cooked perfectly and it tasted like the ingredients were all well-sourced; very flavourful indeed.

After all that it was definitely a good thing we had an afternoon of walking around planned. We headed to the House of Illustration for the Quentin Blake exhibition (which has now finished its run), walking through the newly-developed areas of Kings Cross. Can I just say how in love with the whole area I am - the day we visited was that freakishly warm Saturday at the start of the month, and so all the outside spaces were being well used and it was lovely to see families and students hanging out in the area. There are loads of cool restaurants in the area now as well, so I will definitely be returning.

The House of Illustration is small, but the QB exhibition was so well thought-out and detailed that this didn't really matter. It was amazing to see how much influence QB himself had had on what went into the exhibition, and fascinating to see what he had chosen as the work that most characterised his career. There were explanations as to why each piece had been chosen, and the friendly tone of this really worked well in the intimate setting of the gallery. It was great to be reminded of some Roald Dahl favourites such as The Twits, and definitely got us talking about our favourites when we were small (mine was Matilda, obv, as she reads all the books). There was also a lot of time dedicated to Michael Rosen's Sad Book, which I wasn't aware of but really pulled you in - from the initial email Michael Rosen sent to his publisher to the first sketches by QB to the finished product - this was a really simple, sweet, heartfelt and heartbreaking book.

I really loved my first visit to the House of Illustration, and even though this exhibition is now finished I would definitely return in the future for a different one. I imagine it would be a good place to visit with kids as well - there are things they can associate with, and the fact it isn't too big will help! 

I booked Karpo on OpenTable, during a time that meant it counted as a 1000-point booking
Both Karpo and The House of Illustration are in walking distance of King's Cross station

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