I have always said that the British capital is one of my favourite cities, and during the autumn of 2018 I was able to enjoy two magnificent restaurants, located in luxurious properties in the West End and King’s Cross. Let’s start with my experience at The Gilbert Scott in London, located inside the historic premises of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.
The Gilbert Scott at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
The five star St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel is located at St. Pancras International station – hence its name – and was spectacularly re-opened following extensive renovation in 2011. The property now occupies a large part of the former Midland Grand Hotel, a majestic lodging designed by architect George Gilbert Scott which opened in 1873, and whose doors were closed in 1935.
Its construction is one of the best examples of Gothic Renaissance architecture in Britain. A highlight is its imposing clock tower in the form of needle, which measures 82 metres in height.
The entire building, including the apartments of private owners, is known as St Pancras Chambers. Between 1935 and the 1980s this place was used as railway offices and a good example is its comfortable bar and restaurant, Booking Office, where train tickets were previously sold and journeys on Britain’s Victorian railways planned.
A Strategic Location in Central London
The St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel is in an excellent location, receiving international train services from other European capitals including Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels. Is there anything more comfortable than arriving in style at one of the best points in the city? In the past travelling by train was an elegant experience and this is not an exception today with Eurostar’s services.
After an extensive renovation, this beautiful building continues to exude luxury through its pores. Just look at its detailed Victorian decoration in gold leaf, original tile floors, and walls with exquisite designs and rich wallpapers that draw much attention.
The Gilbert Scott in London: Take Your Seats
In the month of November 2018 I had the opportunity to visit the restaurant The Gilbert Scott in London, I made my reservation simply and with ease through Bookatable by Michelin for two people at 8:30 PM. As a result of this I was given an exclusive deal with Free Champagne.
Taking advantage of the arrival of my friend from Paris, I picked him up around 8 PM to be punctual for this gastronomic event, which was waiting for us in the culinary house of the award-winning and famous Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing.
From St Pancras International Station we arrived at the restaurant through the direct access to the hotel via the Booking Office bar. As we entered, we felt a vibrant atmosphere full of life and luxurious details that leave you speechless.
The restaurant and its bar are at the end of an elegant and photogenic corridor with an impressive staircase, through which we arrived at the reception five minutes in advance.
Our booking was already confirmed, so after leaving our coats in the cloakroom, we were accommodated at a table for two. The restaurant was full and its lighting was low which set a relaxed and intimate tone. We were met with first class attention from the staff from the very first moment.
Starting the Culinary Experience
After being served some drinks, we opted for still water, we ordered some Warm rosemary Tortano bread with salted butter and extra virgin olive oil to whet our appetite as part of the snacks and nibbles. The taste of the bread was amazing, crispy, addictive and it was a good start as we decided on our starters and main courses.
The menu is generally composed of British-sourced classics with the best seasonal products, served in a spectacular large dining room with elegant furniture.
For the starters we ordered Dorset crab & baby gem salad with Parmesan aioli and garlic panko, a refreshing mix with plenty of tasty crab meat that I appreciated greatly as it is one of my favourite seafoods.
I mentioned to the waiter that the portion was very good as in many places very little crab meat is included in this type of dish. I consider it a good choice to start the evening because I wanted to choose ingredients from the sea.
The other main we chose was the Duck liver parfait, toasted brioche, fig chutney, a delicious, pâté with seasonal products that are a delight spread on crunchy rolls that give you a rich, intense flavour that melts in your mouth.
It was time for our Free Champagne, so we were served a drink and we made a toast to the moment. It should be noted that this special offer was only available to each person who requested a minimum of two dishes from the a la carte menu. It was so our case, so it was definitely a great detail for our dinner.
As I said at the beginning, the restaurant was full and as a result of this, in our opinion, it took them a while to bring the main dishes to our table. A detail that we understood, since we were not in a hurry to finish our evening, spending more than two hours relaxing and enjoying our meal.
Carrying on with the seafood theme, it was time to try the Seared Cornish pollock, a powerful soft white fish in a Portobello mushroom base and salsa verde. A subtle combination that I enjoyed with each bite accompanied by smiles of satisfaction.
The other main course was Gloucestershire old spot pork rump, with Roscoff onion and glazed marsala accompanying the meat without losing the beautiful flavour of the main ingredient.
This seasonal dish that helps you enjoy fresh products, all combined in such a way as to ensure that each flavour provided a perfect compliment to the next. With the idea of testing other items, we also ordered a portion of triple chips with British style sarson’s mayonnaise and some sautéed broccoli.
The wait – although we think it is not usual – for both delights was worth it, and to accompany the main courses we ordered alcohol-free cocktails, a Mint & Chamomile Cooler and an Elderflower, Cucumber & Lime Fizz. If they gave me the choice again, whilst both were very refreshing and had delicious flavours, I would prefer the second drink.
There is always room for dessert, but this time it was just me who ordered it. I opted for Buttermilk panna cotta Black Forest fruit. I liked it because I love desserts of Italian origin, although I did not finish it as after a few delicious spoonfuls I felt satisfied and it was time to ask for the bill and then return very happy to the hotel.
Thoughts About the Experience
The restaurant is spectacular with a relaxed, intimate atmosphere with low light and jazz music that combines to enhance the moment. If I had to repeat the occasion I would do so with pleasure. The service was excellent, every time we had empty glasses, and without asking, they were full again thanks to the kindness of the waiters, attentive to our movements or gestures, something that we appreciated very much.
I recommend The Gilbert Scott in London for any event, even if just to celebrate life itself. To summarise, each of us spent around 65 GBP, having asked for additional items. Perhaps we could have ordered more, but what we chose was more than enough for this occasion.
Places of Interest Near The Gilbert Scott in London
The area where The Gilbert Scott in London is located offers a lot to see and do, if you have time before or after your lunch or dinner, take the opportunity to get to know the area. Two essential places are the British Library (about 200 metres away), the second largest library in the world by number of catalogued articles. Inside are documents as old and important as The Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible and original copies of lyrics written by the Beatles.
For those interested in the films of Harry Potter, at King Cross station there is Platform 9 ¾, very famous as the platform where young magicians catch the Hogwarts Express train to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Without a doubt, a special and magical spot in London.
Foodie Tip: Once you are at Bookatable by Michelin go to Star Deals to book exclusive dining experiences.
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