The new Gilbert Scott restaurant in London's St Pancras Renaissance Hotel is a Victorian funfare of classic dishes from pioneering British cooks.
From tomorrow, ordering up a Manchester Tart for dessert will lose its association with Wayne Rooney and a seedy night at The Lowry.
The tart I write of will be served at the spanking new Gilbert Scott restaurant in London’s St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, and is a creation of puff pastry topped with jam, custard and bananas, served dramatically from a “Pastry Bar”. Still, as puddings go, it sounds slightly smutty.
King’s Cross landmark
Even if you’re not a Londoner, the chances are you’ve pitched up at King’s Cross Station at one point or another and wondered what lies inside the rusty Gothic hulk beyond the modern station terminal on Euston Road.
For the past fifty years or so, the answer has been “very little”. The building fronted the original St Pancras Station, which opened in 1868 to link London with Yorkshire. It was one of the capital’s most celebrated constructions, designed by the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, and housed the plush Midland Grand Hotel.
The arrival of the Eurostar Terminal in 2007 hinted at a revival for the building, but the complexity of renovating the derelict shell into a luxury hotel, the St Pancras Renaissance has kept us waiting, until now.
Marcus Wareing restaurant
The £150 million repair job and 189 5* bedrooms are all very well, but of course we’re just interested in the nosh. And my, what nosh it is, as Giles Coren reveals in this exclusive video about the hotel’s Marcus Wareing-run restaurant.
New direction for Wareing
Two Michelin-starred Wareing is known for his fancy pants haute cuisine at his eponymous restaurant at The Berkeley in Knightsbridge, but he is muting his famous name with this new venture, called The Gilbert Scott in homage to St Pancras’s architect. It opens tomorrow, 5 May.
The Gilbert Scott is billed as a “British brasserie”. It is managed by Wareing’s protégée Chantelle Nicholson, who has worked with him at Pétrus and The Savoy Grill, and the menu reveals a few surprises.
Old school British grub
Instead of the latest in food innovations, The Gilbert Scott is a Victorian funfare of classic dishes from pioneering British cooks, including Isabelle Beeton, Agnes Marshall, John Nott and Florence White.
To start, from £7, are Cornish Lobster Salad, Mulligatawny, Harrogate Loaf (veal, bacon and parsley terrine) and Bacon Olives, among other traditional treats.
The main courses, from £15, include pies and stews, Dorset Jugged Steak (braised featherblade with port, pork dumplings and redcurrant), Tweed Kettle (sea trout with a lemon, nutmeg and herb crust), battered cod and Dover Sole.
Pudding fiends can tend to a sweet tooth with Eccles Cakes and Cheddar Cheese Ice Cream, Mrs Beeton’s Snow Eggs (meringues floating on custard – a British îles flottante) and Cambridge Burnt Cream (crème brûlée was invented at Trinity College, Cambridge, doncha know).
Lavish restoration project
Great care has been taken to restore the original interiors by designers the David Collins Studio. The restaurant, open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, will seat 120 under its ornate hand painted ceilings and decadent marble and gold leaf fittings. For special occasions, there is a private dining room for 12 or the Kitchen Table for 10.
The restaurant will not be as formal as Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley – it is billed as a brasserie, so popping in for one or two courses rather than time-consuming tasting menus should be welcomed.
In fact, if you just want to marvel at the flashness of the jaunt, the bar is open to all for breakfast, cocktails and “British Bites” from £4, such as Pork and Sage Stuffing Balls and Lancashire Mushroom Rolls. Or go for “Elevensies” or “Threesies”. At the latter you can dip into a punchbowl along with your cake.
There’s no doubt you can now arrive in London in style with The Gilbert Scott there to greet you. The question is whether you’ll want to continue your journey.
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