Searcys St. Pancras Grand Review
This review will soon feature under my section on the Bookatable blog.
When linking railway stations in London to food, what comes to mind? The inevitable stodge of the heatlamped Cornish pasty? A bland, albeit reasonable meal deal from Boots? To be fair, most stations are concerned with function more than form. With its 2007 £800 million renovation and reopening by the Queen, St. Pancras is out on its own when it comes to appearance, and its dining options have certainly followed suit. Searcys St. Pancras Grand sits on the upper terrace of the station, offering a glamorous take on British classics, mixed with flourishes from the continent that befit its looking down on the Eurostar terminal.
With heated leather banquettes that run along the edge of the terrace, the dedicated champagne bar has become a favourite for travellers coming to and from Paris wanting an sophisticated pitstop. Inside the brasserie, the champagne lighting and intimate brown leather booths give a wonderful Art Deco ambience. At one end is the renowned Searcys whisky bar, whose 50 varieties of malts have won it the Imbibe Seal of Fine Whisky.
Priding themselves on their cocktails as well, I was recommended to try The Bull. Served in a martini glass, I wasn't expecting the stiff hit of whisky that it contained. Luckily, the fruity twists that were also present put out the fire but kept in the warmth.
To start, the pickled mushroom and leek salad with sherry dressing held a fantastic contrast of sharp flavours – the mushroom didn't overpower, with the sweetness of the sherry rounding the bite of the pickle. Similarly, the crab, samphire and grapefruit salad saw the wonderfully moist crabmeat have its saltiness given a sweet finish.
This attention to giving traditional flavours a thoughtful counter was continued with the mains. The confit of duck leg (which can often border on dry in other restaurants), had 2 accompaniments with its crushed potato bed. A lusciously thick crème fraîche was laced with horseradish, offering a fantastic bite. Not only this, but a thick rhubarb chutney paired up perfectly with the richness of the moist duck.
The portion sizes of the desserts was instantly eye catching. Freshly made cheesecake was topped with perfectly ripe strawberries, cut skilfully wafer-thin. Because the cheesecake was not sickly sweet at all, the strawberries didn't appear tart in comparison, leaving the crumbling gingerbread topping to give a warming finish on the tongue.
Despite having a thick, smooth texture, the most exciting part of the chocolate fondant tart was the homemade honeycomb on top. For everyone that ate all the chocolate off a Crunchie in the past, this is the dessert for you.
With its fantastic mixture of bold menu twists sitting alongside gourmet classics, Searcys achieves a wonderful approachability that many other restaurants forsake when they offer the level of service and style that features here. Offering expert menu recommendations throughout, our waitress Francesa deserves a special mention.