St Pancras Grand arrived with quite a bit of fanfare last year when the new St Pancras station opened. This was a restaurant modelled on the famous Terminus Nord in Paris, it had a menu designed by the famous food critic Faye Maschler and the early reviews were pretty positive. Moving at my usual speed of lightening it has taken me about a year to get to St Pancras Grand to check it out.
My first impressions are that St Pancras Grand looks nothing like Terminus Nord unless you take into account the fact that it is in the vicinity of a train station and is a brassiere style restaurant. While Terminus Nord is all faded art nouveau charm, St Pancras Grand is quite corporate with plush leather bistro seating, big cream orb lighting and miles of space between tables. While the restaurant was fairly full on a Thursday night, business must be a little slack as St Pancras Grand is currently offering a Top Table deal of £30 for a two course dinner for two along with a bottle of pink Prosecco. This offer was too good to pass up so I averted my gaze from the oyster counter and stuck to the set menu that the offer covered. The menu at St Pancras Grand reads like an advertisement for defiantly British food with a special emphasis on seafood so there are lots of things that sound both intriguing and delicious.
It would be presumptive to comment on the wine list as we just drank the offered Prosecco. However, the Prosecco was not really the greatest example of Italy’s lovely bubbly as it erred on the side of being rather too pink and rather too sweet. Still, it was quite drinkable, especially at the price we were paying and so we sipped on a glass each and tucked into the warm, points of rolls that were brought to our table in a silver container.
Service was very attentive despite a brief assessment of “Oh you’re here on the pink fizz offer” and it did not take long until our mains were served. The sea bass with black kale featured a fillet of sea bass on a bed of black coloured greens and a scattering of chantarelle mushrooms. While the dish was plated stylishly with the care and attention to detail that you expect in a restaurant of this calibre, the substance of it did not really blow me away. Beside the chantarelle mushrooms there were no strong flavours and the skin on the sea bass was soft rather than crispy.
A better option was the ham hock with apple sauce. The ham was succulent and salty and came doused in a rich jus on a bed of spinach and topped with a dollop of sweet apple sauce. St Pancras Grand seemed at its strongest when producing classic dishes, this was also the case with the dessert menu where the Bakewell apple tart was the star of the show. Tender apples were served with a slightly crunchy crumble topping along with a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream flecked with dark spots from vanilla beans.
It is difficult to offer too strong an opinion on a restaurant on the basis of a set menu deal. The Top Table offer certainly made a meal at St Pancras Grand excellent value, however based on that set menu I am not sure that I would be happy about paying full price. St Pancras Grand is a convenient place to eat at if you want a decent meal while at the station, however I do not think it is a destination restaurant in its own right along the lines of Terminus Nord in Paris.
Details: St Pancras International, Kings Cross NW1 (Ph 020 7870 9900) Tube: Kings Cross
Damage: Pricey but actually reasonable if you can get a discount deal