The Gilbert Scott Restaurant and Bar.
When I was younger I had a friend who would always extend her fork at the dinner table, onto my plate, and eat from it. I didn’t mind for two reasons: because I loved her and because I was a chubby-teenager who didn’t want to pat away her hand, and look like a little fatty who wouldn’t share food. So now, as an adult, when I see, second only to road-rage, how plate-possessive people become when someone picks food off their plate, I smile in the knowledge that I would shrug it off. I have been trained well and am happy to share my food. Come to my plate, all ye who hunger. That was until I visited The Gilbert Scott.
We stepped into the magnificent Renaissance Hotel St Pancras. No words do the grandeur of this hotel justice, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott to capture the magnificence of Victorian Architecture in all its splendour. I call it a castle out of Notredame. However, there is so much that is quintessentially “Old London” about it. We walked through the spectacular glazed entrance halls, and through the arches and corners which lead to The Gilbert Scott Bar and Restaurant where the brilliant, fresh brasserie cuisine of Marcus Wareing awaited.
We entered the dining room and instantly felt like eager beavers. We were the only ones there. I joked that this was our very own, Kanye and Kim style dining experience. Twenty minutes later, there were few empty tables in sight, yet it still felt just as private, just as intimate. With high ceilings, and bells hanging from them bearing light, I felt like we were in church. A church with an excellent cocktail list. We were treated to the Gilbert’s signature cocktail “1873.” I’ll have 1,872 more of those please. Apparently, I couldn’t, so we moved onto the menu. You know your eyes are bigger than your stomach when you can’t bring yourself to make the sacrifice of choosing just one plate. “Can I ask” I began, to our attentive waitress, “here we go” my company thought, “if we could have the mushroom cobble and baked aubergine from the mains as starters?” “In starter-size?” I added, just to clarify that I was not the pig I sounded like. After explaining three times, through my negotiations, that this wasn’t possible because the mushroom cobbler is cooked and served in a dish which comes in one size only, and the aubergine main is a whole sliced aubergine, which they can’t actually shrink, so “I’m sorry madam we really cannot starter-size them, but of course you’re welcome to have these dishes to start with”, I did the maths. Four mains. Not today stomach, not today.
We joined the land of proper dining protocol and chose from the actual starters: Venison terrine and the Manzo di Pozza (cured beef). Onto our mains, we sampled the Herdwick Lamb and the Fillet of Beef. Now, let us pay homage to this lamb. I have an incurable sense of guilt, whenever I eat lamb, in particular. My meat-conscience kicks in. The guilt is directly correlative to the tenderness. So when I say this was the softest, most melt-in-mouth chop and shoulder I’ve ever tasted, be assured that I am shedding a tear or ten as I write this. Cooked to absolute perfection, as tender as culinarily possible, and complimented perfectly by harrissa, smoked aubergine and pistachio puree, it disappears into your mouth and you are left craving another bite. If you visit the Gilbert Scott, you must sample this plate. And if, like me, you are ever contemplating four main courses, order four of these.
Not a primary fan of Shiraz wines, the Chateau de Fonsalette Syrah, served here, had me thinking what do I know about wines.Fortunately, the sommelier knows lots and paired perfectly with our meats we were lulled into a light food and wine coma with this exquisite choice. The warm chocolate fondant with espresso ice cream and banana bread and butter pudding with rum ice cream sealed us into it however. We could live here, we thought, so I don’t think either of us minded much. To nurse the coma though, we thought it best to retreat to the bar, surround ourselves with more lively, less full-to-the-brim folk, and an extensive cocktail list. And so, church bells ringing, we were beckoned onto the buzz of the Gilbert Scott’s bar. An uber cool, yet relaxed and refined setting, you could see here city goers, young men and women, who drew parallel to the dining crowd of the restaurant. As I sat down at a table by four girls giggling away, I smiled as they caught up on their week and mused about their weekend plans ahead. The Gilbert Scott Bar and Restaurant set the perfect ambience for all evenings alike. Be it to dine in relaxation to a soundtrack of symphonies, or catch up over cocktails to an eclectic music set, you will spend a very fine evening, doing so there.