As out of place you would expect Karpo to feel in King's Cross, neighboring the massive industrialised station, decrepit sex shops, kebabs and take aways, this American diner offers grunge and greasy spoon type cuisine to fit right in - yet impressively, it's all deliberate and pulled together in the most fine dining sort of way.
The interior is impressive, and atmosphere very cool. The graffiti that dominates the facade is subtly reinstated throughout in the menu, font and the eclectic and brightly colored crockery. Karpo is spread over three levels, the ground level is bright, airy with round diner and canteen banquet tables next to an indoor living wall. The lower floor best reflects it's American style decorated with leather booths and a wall displaying a collage of photographs of local people. I have been told there is also a rather impressive organic roof garden... 'nuf said... this place is huge!
Also huge, is the menu! Brunch, lunch, larders, hot, cold, wood fired, puddings, smoothies, the lot. Taking a while to peruse, we finally ordered; salt beef hash with the fried eggs substituted for poached and blueberry pancakes. With a pot of Japanese sencha tea.
The food took a while, and the wait with my depressingly weak pot of tea caused a hunger-grump of a Saturday morning. Two perfectly poached eggs finally arrived sat on top of shredded salt beef and potato hash with grits. It hit the spot, but the salt beef did lack a bit of taste. Unlike the food you get at generic American style breakfast hotspots like, the Breakfast Club and The Diner, this dish didn't feel like it had been sitting on a grill all morning, and was in no way greasy or stodgy. The pancakes were divine, and the highlight of the meal. The we're fluffy and the blueberries were fresh. So fresh they virtually melted, and bust and ran all over the plate. They only needed syrup, which we finally had to request half way through.
I like Karpo. But I'm not sure I love it. Nor am I sure I would go back. I love breakfast, too much, and admit I'm a picky little Australian when it comes to breakfast and brunch. I don't see myself dreaming about Karpo breakfast like I do Lantana's creative concoctions or Bill Granger's scrambled eggs. Above all, King's Cross just isn't a nice place to spend a Saturday morning and in order for somewhere to convince me otherwise it'll need to be warm, homely stylish and trendy. Not street chic and cold. That said, go if you're early for a train and hungover.