Daisy Jestico savours vintage champagne at St Pancras Station
St Pancras Grand Champagne Bar
St Pancras Station, NW1
020 3006 1550
WHAT could be more romantic than wrapping up warm with a plate of oysters and a glass of champagne in hand, watching as passengers board a train destined for the delights of gay Paris?
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The St Pancras Grand Champagne Bar, running alongside the Eurostar platforms at St Pancras railway station, has all the right ingredients for an evening of old fashioned grandeur – if only the trains in question were vintage steam engines – but sadly lacks the buzzing atmosphere it so badly craves.
When we arrive at the bar, hidden away on the top floor of the station, we are taken to our own heated booth and given a blanket to wrap up in – the airy concourse can be chilly for diners even if we weren’t already suffering below zero temperatures this winter.
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But this hardly takes away from the experience. In fact it enhances it. You know you’re in safe hands when a restaurant puts comfort above style.
Not that style is in any way lacking. The bar itself is a long line of leather seated, wooden panelled booths with glorious panoramic views of the terminal below and the impressive vaulted ceiling above. It is a unique location, for the people watching alone, and certainly one worth visiting even if champagne isn’t to your taste.
Copies of Le Monde newspapers are laid out on the tables, making you well aware if you weren’t already that you are in the midst of French sophistication or at least on your way there.
And art deco lamps make the booths an even more intimate dining experience.
But despite the thrill of uninterrupted snooping on Eurostar passengers, the bar fails to draw in the crowds of supping media types and pre-holiday diners you might expect. Admittedly a few nights before New Year’s Eve is probably not going to be its busiest time, but a bustling bar would make the experience all the more glamourous.
Yet the mouth watering menu makes up for its slightly sedate atmosphere. Packed with vintages from champagne houses across France, it caters to every mood in the book. And all the dishes are carefully selected to compliment the drinks.
The waitress advises us to start with a light and buttery Brut before moving on to a fuller bodied and flavoursome Bollinger or Pommery when our meals arrive. A taster tray can be arranged for anyone unable to make up their minds and if champagne is not to your liking there are plenty of wines, beers and elderflower presses to keep you well hydrated.
There is also no lack of seafood on the menu and what better way to lap up the fizz than sharing a plate of rock Oysters. I then opted for smoked haddock in a rich mustard butter sauce for mains while my husband ate what had to be the poshest steak burger I’ve ever seen, with the French fries served in a chrome pot of course.
All in all, the experience is a delight from start to finish if only the atmosphere had as much fizz as the champagne. – DAISY JESTICO
Mains: �9.50 to �19.50
Champagne: from �8 to �27.50 a glass
Children welcome: Yes
Disabled access: Yes