Very good to Excellent (89-92)
Above average to Good (86-88)
Below Average to Average (80-85)
Avoid (below 80)
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On 5 May 2011 the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel re-opened after many years of restoration and 138 years after the hotel, originally named Midland Grand Hotel, first opened. 5 May was also the day of the opening of the hotel's restaurant The Gilbert Scott, Marcus Wareing's new venture. The St. Pancras Hotel is a landmark building in London and many people are very pleased that it is no longer one of the city's most famous building sites. Only recently did I find out that it was at this hotel where the Spice Girls recorded their famous Wannabe video in the 90's.
The final 48 hours of my recent London trip were dominated, in a good way, by Marcus Wareing. After having had a fabulous lunch in his two starred restaurant Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley I was all set to go to his new restaurant for lunch on Saturday 7 May.
First our party of three (me and my husband and a friend) had drinks in the beautiful Gilbert Scott bar. I had the English garden cocktail, which was lovely. The bar serves a very wide range of drinks among which 3 English sparkling wines by the glass: Camel Valley Brut 09, Ridgeview 'Grosvenor', Blanc de Blancs 07 and Nyetimber 'Classic Cuvee' 05. With our drinks we were served some lovely but very addictive black pepper and smoked paprika popcorn.
After our drinks we were taken into the absolutely breathtaking dining room. Incredible high ceilings and a lavishly decorated interior; it speaks of Empire.
The Gilbert Scott is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. The menu is a comprehensive selection of starters, mains and puddings and the dishes all have historical British origins or are classics in their own right.
As a starter I had the Cornish lobster salad. A delicious crisp salad with a generous amount of lobster, a light and very tasty Marie-rose sauce, fennel shavings, thinly sliced spring onions and some croutons. Good flavours, nice textures.
My husband had the Mulligatawny which he said was stunning and very comforting. He indicated he would happily travel to London just to have this dish again - and then return home. He liked it so much that it was gone in seconds, so I didn't get to take a photograph and actually with his main too he couldn't wait to dive in, so no photograph of that either.
My main course was The Queen's Potage: chicken, pistachio, pomegranate and morels. Wonderful succulent chicken served with a lovely herby breadcrumb-and-lemon crust, great dumplings and morels. The delicious rich stock was balanced by the freshness of the pomegranate and the pistachio added a nice touch. Elegant comfort food dish.
My husband had the London Pride battered cod, mushy pea mayonnaise and chips. Lovely flaky cod in a beautiful thin and crispy batter and fantastic chips.
With our mains we ordered some George's chips with Sarson's mayonnaise and a tomato salad on the side. They really know their chips in this place; good well-dressed tomato salad.
My pudding was the orange marmalade Jaffa cake. A lovely moist cake with good strong orange flavours and a terrific chocolaty centre. The Earl Grey ice cream was served on top of lovely crunchy bits.
The Gilbert Scott has Marcus Wareing's vision written all over it. The food is brilliant brasserie food and a celebration of British produce and culinary heritage; why can't it always be like this? The menu is as British as it gets, from the English sparkling wines by the glass via Fish and Chips to Mrs. Beeton's snow eggs. By their very nature these are not the most complex of dishes but they are perfectly executed and with the occasional touch of magic. Marcus Wareing has created a top notch English brasserie and has selected excellent people to prepare the food and serve the guests; the whole restaurant experience was wonderful. Overall The Gilbert Scott is one of a kind in London and I would happily work my way through the entire menu - and back.