Having only a narrow window to meet my cousin en route from New York to Paris I chose the Gilbert Scott restaurant in the Renaissance Hotel. It could not be closer to St Pancras station of which Gilbert Scott was the architect. It’s under the aegis of master chef Marcus Wareing whose group also owns the two star restaurant in the Berkeley and Tredwells in Covent Garden.
I was was genially impressed with two reservations. The first is an obvious one: location. Kings Cross would not be a destination of choice though convenient for the station and the north of the city. When you arrive at the restaurant you are impressed by the grandeur of the room: high ceilings, mirrors, a fin de siècle feel which reminded me of the brasserie in the Gare de Lyon.
I chose foie gras, venison and an ice cream and pear concoction. My cousin went for chanterelle salad, bream and a praline tart. We could find no fault in any of these dishes. The venison served in a rich jus with a roasted beetroot was especially memorable. A pianist played: I always think a touch of live music adds to the ambience. The service was friendly and efficient.
My second reservation was the cost of the wine list. The choice under £75 was not great and I selected a Maclaren Vale red for £58. I saw a Tempranillo Crianza priced at £64 – I have seen Tempranillos at ASDA under £10 or less than glass on the wine list (£12) so the mark-up must be huge. You do not have to be a wine connoisseur to note such a hike. Supermarkets like Waitrose offer a fine wine selection and Crinza is a ubiquitous marque of Spanish wine, so I would assume diners would be or should be put off such prices. They also have a Coravin selection, fine wine by the glass from a sealed bottle at £30.
This off my chest, I did not regard the final bill of £158 for two as excessive. If I was going for naughty weekend in Paris I would start there but prefer a linked arm romantic stroll along the Left Bank with a lover to one down Euston Road!!!