Some people are just naturally confident. We’re going to hazard a guess and say that Cher, Jay-Z, or Miley Cyrus never spent any long, lonely nights singing Creep into a mirror. Good for them. Self-loathing and wild insecurity are overrated. Some restaurants are the same. They know exactly who they are, what they do, and why you should love them. Enter Decimo, a foliage thirst trap of a restaurant on the 10th floor of The Standard hotel in King’s Cross.
Decimo is an evening-only restaurant that gives you the feeling that everyone here knows at least ten more sex positions than you do and probably wouldn’t be afraid to demonstrate said knowledge come Saturday at 2am on the bar, with a cauliflower taco in one hand, and their eighth glass of Rioja in the other. It’s also blindingly expensive. In fact if you’re not willing to throw down a casual £100 per person on tacos, a caviar-clad tortilla, and some cocktails, then this might not be the restaurant for you. That being said, those tacos are some of the best you’ll find in a city that isn’t known for its Mexican food. The pork belly one is the kind of thing where you start mentally listing recent prime ministers to delay your second - and last - bite for as long as humanly possible. Sure, the odd dish like the £18 gambas might miss the mark, but who cares, failure is just a state of mind - shoulders back, chin up. No one puts Decimo in the corner.
Even without all of the big flavours in their aguachiles and the pure snackability of their manchego quesadillas, the space here alone is enough to understand their glowing self-esteem. It’s the kind of sweeping, dramatic room you walk into, raise a single finger, and say something ridiculous like “bring me a margarita, and everytime you see it half empty, bring me another”. The restaurant is open-plan with floor-to-ceiling windows, two big buzzing bars, skyline views, six-foot cacti, and a mildly haunting wooden statue that looks like a dementor got a bamboo makeover. It’s a bit 70s, a bit trip to Mérida, and entirely over-the-top. Whether you’re hidden in one of their two-person back booths or centre stage on one of their huge oval tables by the open fire, you’ll quickly realise that the red velvet, the foliage, and the music blasting from the DJ booth are all just enablers for you to have a great night, followed by a biblical hangover on a Wednesday morning.
Much like Kanye West going from confident to ‘Imma let you finish’, the larger than life mood at Decimo does tend to backfire from time to time. For example, many of the servers here wear long, oat-coloured, and kind of unnecessary slit dresses that just look like the Dorne Sisters x Urban Outfitters collaboration no one asked for. And certain menu items, like their arguably delicious tortilla covered in 50g of caviar, feel like the egg equivalent of buying a Birkin. Because no matter how much you like it, the fact remains that part of the reason you bought it was as a nod to your superior tax bracket, and for the sake of knowing you could.
At the same time though, one bite into the white fish baja taco and you won’t be thinking about the sky-high prices. No, you’ll be thinking that it looks like the lovechild of a mad scientist and the world’s most eccentric lettuce, and tastes like your average bit of breaded cod moved to the sunshine and finally had the spare time and vitamin reserves to become something special. Or maybe you’ll be thinking, did that guy drinking mezcal at the bar use to be in the Foo Fighters? Either way, when it comes to a boozy birthday over those tacos, or an absolute blinder of a business dinner where you end up swapping pieces of suckling pig shoulder and keys to your chalets, all you really need is Decimo. And maybe a little confidence.
The kind of cheesy, crunchy £4 snack that you eat whilst brainstorming what kind of killer app you need to create so that you could afford to eat ten of these a day.
Your classic croquetas done right.
Depending on personal preference, this plate of sliced octopus will either inspire the colour scheme for your next ensuite remodel, or remind you of a prop from Alien. Forget appearances, just eat it. But slowly. Because for £25 you’re going to want to savour it.
When it’s 2am and all we have in our cupboard is dry pasta and a tin of tuna, we’ll think about this pork belly taco. Our favourite thing here.
One game plan for Decimo is to come here and buy two of everything until you’re sure that your parents were wrong when they called you an accident. Another is to sit at the bar with a strong drink and eat a couple of these excellent £6 fried white fish tacos.
Nothing is as divisive as cauliflower. Well, actually, if you pay any kind of attention to modern politics you know that isn’t true. But whilst some of us loved the crunch and kick of the cauliflower taco, some of us thought it wasn’t as good as the other taco offerings.
You know this is a bit stupid. We know this is a bit stupid. And we’re pretty sure even Decimo know that this is a bit stupid. Who cares? It’s one of the best tortillas we’ve had. And although the caviar doesn’t really add all that much to the dish, it will make you feel like a winner.
Some pretty standard fried potatoes. They’re slightly too salty, but the alioli is excellent.
We eat vegetables. Sometimes. But this was quite a sad, wet offering of sliced up courgette. You can eat your five a day elsewhere, stick to the para picar, meat, fish, and tacos.
When you’re paying £16 for a couple of small lamb chops you want an excellent piece of meat. That’s exactly what you’ll find here. If you don’t nibble at the bone like a boozed-up hyena, then shame on you.
We’re not going to lie to you, saying the words ‘yeah, we’ll take the whole suckling pig shoulder’ out loud does feel good, but not quite as good as this tastes. It’s perfectly glazed, the meat is tender, and the fact that it’s served with a jug of optional pig fat will definitely get some conversations started.
Having been moved to the bar to make room for someone with a lot more BRIT Awards than us, we ordered this expecting an elaborate, cold fruit salad situation. Nope. What turned up was a piece of sliced pineapple on top of a marble bowl of ice. Oh Decimo. You freak.