The Gilbert Scott - Review
Published Wednesday May 25th 2011
The Gilbert ScottSt Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Rd, London
Review by Siobhan Bishop
After an estimated £220 million restoration, The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel now stands tall in all its gothic, swirling staircase glory after years of declining in to disrepair. Originally designed by architect George Gilbert Scott in the 1860’s the hotel was intended to showcase the best of Britain and after nearly a decade of work it does just that. A hotel of such grandeur is of course expected to have restaurants and bars that are of the same standard and therefore I was excited to hear that Marcus Wareing and his team had been brought in to run the aptly named British Brasserie Gilbert Scott which has its own separate entrance on Euston Road allowing for independence and appreciation in its own right. I’m sure George would have been happy with this namesake.
On entrance patrons can’t help but be in awe of the architecture and the interior design with its cavernous high ceilings and marble columns. My expectations were of a fine dining experience however the cherry red leather booths and chairs added some modern day comfort and allowed for an early evening casual dinner with friends. A clever compromise meaning that the guests ranged from business men to ladies having a catch up and the dining room felt more relaxed than I’d anticipated.
Staff surrounded the dining room waiting to offer advice and help with anything you could possibly need. Still Mineral Water and home baked bread arrived immediately, closely followed by a menu of traditional British cuisine with an intriguing modern day twist. A hint of Heston Blumenthal shone through the menu although Marcus Wareing’s seemed somewhat less experimental. The ‘Britishness’ was pleasingly obvious and the menu was exciting to read through therefore posing some difficult decisions. Although a regularly changing menu due to seasonality, expect to see the likes of Dorset Crab with pear and hazelnuts and Mulligatawny (with quail, onion rings and curry spice) don your plates for starters. Both excellently prepared and reasonable sizes.
The Sommelier kindly offered us the choice of glasses of wine to suit each course or a bottle that would complement all of our courses, having each chosen a varied selection of both meat and fish from the menu we were intrigued to see which bottle of wine he would find that would be suitable for all. A northern Italian Erbaluce di Caluso was the choice and it had a wonderful flavour that was light and refreshing and didn’t overpower the food. Main courses arrived promptly with my choice being the rabbit and prawn pie which was delicious. The meat was so tender and although an odd combination on paper, the prawns were not out of place, instead they added to the meaty dish. Our other choice was the Soles in coffins which was lemon sole with vermouth cream, Morecombe bay shrimps, mace and crispy potato. Sides come separately, we opted for roast potatoes – some of the best I’ve ever had, crispy on the outside with a yummy fluffy filling and perfectly cooked asparagus spears. Although the main courses were large we did manage to find some room for a portion of English strawberries with clotted cream, meringue and polgoon which when added to the strawberries created a pleasing fizzing and bubbling effect, and a Kendal mint cake choc ice which was a nostalgic reminder of my childhood and British seaside holidays.
All together a delicious meal, the food was superb as expected and the main courses in my opinion were by far the highlight, taking British tradition and giving it a good modern shake up. Lighter bites and custom made cocktails are available in the bar and a chef’s table seating ten people is situated in the kitchen downstairs, right in the thick of things allowing for as much or as little interaction with the chef’s as you wish. So, if you are a real foodie or are looking for somewhere a bit different for your next dinner out with friends then head to Gilbert Scott for an intimate and very British dining experience, whether it be in the brasserie, the bar or in the kitchen the food is sure to be delicious and if nothing else it’s worth going in just to look at the beautiful interior design.