<strong>The Fellow<br />24 York Way N1 9A<br />Tel: 0207 837 3001</strong><br />Cost per person without wine: £25<br /><br />KING’S CROSS is still a funny old area. Try as the developers might, it’s never quite become the next Hoxton or Angel. And for anyone who prefers a good Burgundy to a hip-hop night, it’s not much of an evening destination.<br /><br />But if there were any small sign of gentrification finally creeping in, it would be The Fellow, which opened a few months ago and recently got a new manager. Yes, there are a few other salubrious eateries in the area. But smack bang on York Way, in spitting distance of grubby King’s Cross station, this gastropub could have come straight out of Notting Hill or Hampstead.<br /><br />The location is one of the great things about The Fellow. You feel a tiny bit cool there. Gritty life is going on just metres away, after all – more so than in Kensington, anyway. It’s nice to feel a little edgy as you are ensconced in the leathery comfort of a cosy banquette seat, sipping Chilean viognier or Napa Valley chardonnay from the sophisticated wine list.<br /><br />The dining room is dark and wooden, with big square windows and a very long bar that hints at good nightlife creds. It’s gloomy – but then a pub on York Way is not somewhere to go if you want to bask in the summer sun or watch the sun set.<br /><br />This being a gastropub of the new order, the food is fresh, British and ambitious. The bread is the best I’ve had in a long time – Irish soda meets malted granary, served warm and fresh. For starters, I went for salad of smoked haddock and quail’s eggs, while my companion ordered pan-fried duck egg, pea shoots and bacon. The haddock seemed of good quality but lacked salt, smoke and punch, leaving the dish a bit bland. The duck egg was oddly rubbery but forked with the treacly bacon and pea shoots, pretty damn nice.<br /><br /><strong>SOMETHING CLEANSING</strong><br />The bread, the heat, the gloom, the wine – it all put me in the mood for something cleansing. Enter the roast green and yellow courgettes with “herbed” goat’s cheese, plum tomato and pine nuts, for £10. Alas, it was a watery, amateurish dish and the presence of yellow courgettes made no difference – if they’d stuck to green maybe it would have cost half the price. The wood pigeon – whose season is January-March – was hard work; too chewy but of a pleasing ruby colour and nicely garnished with a caramelised hazelnut salad. Meanwhile, the people on the next table were in raptures over chicken breast with hispi cabbage and hake and clams.<br /><br />Desserts are the usual tarts, crumbles and custards – no doubt delicious – but we went for the cheese and struck a home run with the super-creamy cachel blue, France-humbling Somerset brie and Cornish Yarg. The extremely good-natured service and our bottle of reasonably priced 2006 Saint Veran Burgundy (£28.50) almost made up for the mixed-bag mains. It was a shock re-emerging onto York Way. But that’s the beauty of this place – it’s the ideal halfway house between the genteel and the cool in an area that’s still much more the latter than the former.<br /><br /><strong>In a Nutshell: </strong><br />Well-meaning gastropub with a strong, well-priced wine list and a friendly atmosphere. Just edgy enough to attract hipsters with tattoos, but plush enough to make City professionals feel at home.