The weekend was an overly indulgent mix of excellent food, delicious cocktails and beautiful interiors.
On Friday I went for drinks with the very lovely Gemma (who designed my blog header) at the Bar Américain in Brasserie Zédel, one of the capital’s newest eateries. Brasserie Zédel is sister to the Wolseley and the Delauney and is located in the building that used to house the Atlantic Bar and Grill.
We were sat happily chatting away and enjoying some coupe cocktails in the elegantly masculine subterranean bar when my inebriated boyfriend turned up, gave Gem a bit of abuse and promptly herded us into the brasserie for some dinner. I was glad he did though because I really, really liked this place. Simple but excellent, reasonably priced food from a restriced menu all served in a gloriously enormous over-the-top Art Deco ocean liner style room which used to be the ball room of a hotel that sat above it. This is a grand European style restaurant where it feels perfectly normal to go for dinner at 10pm (in fact we had to wait for a table).
This is a definitely a good place to remember if, like us, you often find yourself in the depths of Soho late on a Friday evening, starving hungry and unable to get into any other restaurant without the luxury of a reservation.
On Saturday night we took my dad to The Gilbert Scott restaurant in the St Pancras Rennaissance Hotel to celebrate his seventieth birthday. We kicked off the evening with the obligatory gin cocktail in the bar and then moved on to dinner.
The restaurant had had a cancellation the day before and they very kindly upgraded us to the kitchen table. We sat on a horseshoe shaped table overlooking the kitchen. The room wasn’t behind a glass wall like some chef’s tables and so we had a great view of the goings on and could soak up the atmoshere. We had a surprise menu that was created especially for us and the head chef and other staff came over and explained each of the four courses to us. Surprise menus are great for someone as squeamish and suspicious of unfamiliar food as I am and I certainly would never have ordered mackerel from the menu but it turned out that I rather liked it. The food was really, really good and the mini trifle in particular rendered me speechless.
The kitchen was surprisingly quiet and calm. After having experienced the hectic-ness of the kitchen at Gordon Ramsay at Claridges, we were expecting a similar atmosphere but it was so relaxed, everyone just quietly getting on with their allocated tasks. There was a bit of effing and blinding later in the evening and some poor soul got shouted and sworn at by the head chef but it was quite theatrical and we had a sneaking suspicion it’d been put on for our benefit.
The kitchen table was really good fun and I would definitely do it again. We all had a great time and it’s really relaxed – you can be as noisy as you like, get up and wander around and switch places. You don’t have to be considerate of fellow diners and it’s actually quite nice to have some privacy. After dinner we moved onto the Booking Office bar for a nightcap which by this time was filled with loud music and a brilliant atmosphere.
Yesterday lunchtime, having agreed we’d had a rather nice time, we decided to go back to the Gilbert Scott for brunch. In for a penny, in for a pound and all that. We’d spent such a huge amount of money on food and drink over course of the weekend that we one more wasn’t goign to make much difference.
We resisted the most extraordinary display of cakes I’ve ever seen in the lobby (from the excellent Coco Maya bakery I believe) and went isntead to the bar and sat in the exact same table we’d vacated a mere few hours before. The Gilbert Scott serves brunch till 2pm in the bar which is defnitely worth remembering as a lot of places stop serving at lunchtime. Although it’s not cheap, it was worth every penny as the food was, again, excellent and there were unusual items on the menu in place of the ubiquitous eggs benedict. The bar was all white table cloths and comfortable booths, the sort of place you want to lounge around all day drinking bloody marys and reading the newspapers. Except really I’d had enough alcohol by then and I don’t like tomato juice.
The St Pancras Hotel is becoming a bit of a favourite, there are two entirely different but equally lovely bars, an excellent restaurant and a lovely space to have coffee and cake in the lobby. This hotel has all bases covered and whatever time of day it is and whatever you fancy, you will find somewhere serving high quality food and drink in stunningly beautiful surroundings.
We finished of our overindulgent weekend the same way we finish most, with spaghetti bolognese in front of the tv. Back to normal. Phew.