Hawker-inspired comfort food in the heart of King’s Cross
Ekachai is one of the newer restaurants in King’s Cross, having opened in January this year. It’s the fifth branch from a team made up of Thai, Malay and Cantonese chefs backed by Hong Kong-born restaurateurs; they were inspired to open the first branch in Liverpool Street nearly 20 years ago by a desire to recreate their favourite childhood dishes.
The team specialises in South East Asian ‘comfort food’ – dishes inspired by the hawker stalls of Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong, with a particular focus on wok cooking.
Casual vibes and convenience
Like many new restaurants in King’s Cross since the recent redevelopment, the vibe at Ekachai is hip and casual. The decor is a mixture of distressed wood and sleek flashes of colour.
It’s located on York Way, mere moments from King’s Cross station, making it the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before a train journey – or after an evening canal cycle, as I did.
Kicking off the meal
For starters, my companion and I went for the xiao long bao pork dumplings and the soft shelled crab. The dumplings were a delight – steamed, soup-filled and delicately spiced, they were set off perfectly by the accompanying Chinese vinegar and ginger dip.
The soft shelled crab was just the right combination of crunchy and squishy, and had a lovely flavour. My only criticism would be that it was too small!
The main event
For the main, I had the Malaysian chicken kapitan, a fragrant coconut milk curry generously packed with succulent chunks of chicken. The sauce was richly flavoured with warming spices and the zing of lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves.
My companion’s Malaysian salmon curry also had a coconut milk sauce, this one slightly lighter and tangier, which went well with the subtler flavour of the fish. The salmon shared its sauce with tiny asparagus tips and whole cherry tomatoes, the latter making incredibly satisfying little explosions of juice and curry sauce when bitten into.
We had our mains with egg fried rice, which was comfortingly classic, and the meal accompanied by a bottle of the house white – a decent sauvignon blanc.
Ekachai: A brilliant addition to the choice of restaurants in King’s Cross
Prices are very reasonable, with starters ranging from £2.50 to £6.95 and mains from £7.75 to £10.25. Service is super fast as well, making this the perfect place to grab a quick lunch or a dinner on the go.
All in all, Ekachai gets a thumbs up from us – it has a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, delicious, unpretentious food and fast, friendly service. Next time you’re after restaurants in King’s Cross, why not give it a try?
Looking for more places to eat out in London? Check out our reviews of Cinnamon Kitchen in Shoreditch and Bōkan in Canary Wharf!