I pass through St Pancras every time I venture to London because it’s where my train pulls in, however usually – it’s always a fleeting visit on the way to somewhere else. I’ve never fully appreciated the magnitude of the station itself, the architecture and the various bars and restaurants dotted around, hosting couples, groups and families catching up after hopping off their trains. It’s an absolutely amazing place, especially the St Pancras Hotel – which I have visited once before for afternoon tea (incredible) – and I was keen to discover more about what the station offers visitors who are staying a little longer than the average passing traveller.
One place in particular that struck me was The Gilbert Scott, located in the stunning St Pancras Hotel and offering guests a fine dining experience, very different to your usual station regulars such as Pret and Starbucks. Perfect for setting up a meeting with easy access to the station, Danielle and I booked a table one evening for a catch-up session (we had a month’s worth of gossip to relay to one another) and couldn’t wait to try it out for ourselves.
We arrived a little early and were graciously welcomed for a drink in the bar while our table was being set up. It was evident from the beginning of our visit that this place is a firm favourite of many Londoners and passing travellers alike. Friends caught up over cocktails, while a late afternoon meeting finished up and a family of five from France refuelled after a trip on the Eurostar.
The decor of the bar (and the restaurant for that matter) is stunning, with vast ceilings, emblazoned with colourful patterns and huge hanging lamps. If it wasn’t for the friendliness of the staff, it might even feel a little intimidating, however you soon sink into the plush cushioned seats, as if you belonged there all along.
We had a glass of champagne each – to celebrate seeing each other again (there’s always something to celebrate, any excuse for champagne) and didn’t stop for a breath until a little jar of smoked popcorn was placed in front of us. These are very kindly given complimentary with every drink – and we wasted no time in tucking in.
Very soon, we were called to be taken through to our table – in the equally beautiful and very brightly lit restaurant area.
We were taken through the menu, which very helpfully has an informative key with any allergen informative (it makes my life a lot easier as I don’t eat eggs or dairy) and once we’d made our choices, we had a separate wine paired for each dish.
No detail seemed forgotten as we were ‘transported’ to France, South Africa and Italy with our different wines, which each had a background story and a set of unique flavours.
Starter wise, I had a delicious tomato and gazpacho dish – which was absolutely incredible. You usually imagine tomatoes as an individual vegetable to be quite two-dimensional, as it tends to feature as a sauce rather than a standalone dish however I was suitably impressed. Danielle opted for the Mozerella Salad with onions, beetroot and grilled courgette, which she was equally as pleased with. The portions were larger than usual for a fine dining restaurant (which is always a bonus, as it’s extra value for money) however you finish each dish feeling satisfied rather than uncomfortably full.
The ‘main event’ offered a variety of choices, even for someone like me who tends to be limited due to my intolerances. I eventually opted for the Grilled Sea Bream with samphire, tomatoes and carrots (the latter of which was a swap for Brandade – which can contain milk).
Danielle chose the Cornish Red Chicken, with sweetcorn, broad beans and tarragon. Forever tempted by the side offerings, we also got a portion of Paprika Chips (which were probably the best chips I’ve tasted in a very long time – delicious but not in the slightest bit greasy) and Runner Beans with garlic butter and almonds. I don’t think the photographs really do these dishes justice, but I could definitely get used to eating amazing food like this every day. It’s such a treat!
When it comes to Danielle and I, there’s always room for dessert – and so we welcomed the puddings menu to our table with open arms. With a wide selection to suit all sweet tooth’s, we eventually decided upon the Mango Marshmallows and the Vanilla Panna Cotta (which I admired from afar).
After filling up, we retired to the bar area once again for yet more catching up and cocktails. I can’t thank The Gilbert Scott enough for hosting us, as we had a thoroughly lovely evening and I’ll be returning as soon as I can. It’s a great place to start your holiday if you’re heading on a romantic getaway to Paris on the Eurostar, or even as a standalone treat – it’s a fabulous place to visit, either for drinks or dinner – or both!
We actually had the opportunity to visit the kitchen, which was a first for me – to see all the busy chefs hard at work! The Gilbert Scott offer a unique service called ‘The Kitchen Table’ for upto 10 diners, in a more private setting at the front of the kitchen. The chef then lays upon a 7 course tasting menu, talking through each dish individually and a sommelier will pair the wines to your courses and preferences. It sounds like a fantastic experience for foodies, so definitely something to consider! The restaurant itself is a Marcus Wareing and I’ve dined in a couple of his locations before. They are all equally amazing – and if you’re stuck for choice (which is rather difficult in London I suppose), I’d recommend one of his in a heartbeat!
The Gilbert Scott
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
+44 207 278 3888