Stepping inside Magenta, your eyes are immediately drawn to the pink and silver butterflies which climb the walls and exposed ceiling pipes - the restaurant has prettified the industrial shell of its dining room, juxtaposing steel columns and large arched windows with ambient lighting and furnishings upholstered in its eponymous purplish-red hue. It’s a coupling of two very distinct styles that shouldn’t really work, but Magenta manages to pull it off, making it one of the capital’s more unique dining rooms.
Magenta is part of the Megaro hotel, but you would never know as it boasts its own street-side entrance right by King’s Cross station. The menu is inspired by northern Italy and a prix-fixe of two, three or four courses is offered, each representing good value, with a few supplements available too should you be in the mood to splurge.
The best thing we ate was a fresh pasta dish - delicately crafted agnolotti parcels filled with slow-cooked beef, the meat’s intensity only heightened by accompanying smears of smoked creme fraiche and added crunch provided via a smattering of hazelnuts. We were also impressed by antipasti including a cylinder of cannellone stuffed with sweet shredded Dorset crab, and a creamy ball of burrata, which paired well with the subtle tartness of charred apricot.
As for the drinks, expect your usual mix of Italian wines and spirits, alongside a selection of photo-friendly signature cocktails: the Pink Pantera was a sweet, refreshing mix of rose wine, select liqueur, raspberry, vanilla and tonic topped with a cloud of pink candy floss. Not all of Magenta’s pandering to Instagram works though - we found the blackened charcoal sourdough to be more of a visual spectacle than anything else, although the accompanying Sicilian olive oil was a beauty.
We were too full for dessert on our visit, but tempting options include yoghurt and apricot mousse with Amaretto ice cream. A charming menu, coupled with attentive service and a convivial atmosphere (the place was packed on our Tuesday night visit) make Magenta a welcome addition to the ever dynamic restaurant scene in King’s Cross.