There are very few restaurants that merge old and new so effortlessly as Gilbert Scott. The beautiful gothic architecture does not seem out of place next the hustle and bustle of St Pancras tube station. And it’s this mix of tradition and modern the makes afternoon tea here so special.
Instead of the traditional three tier cake stand, the food is presented on three separate plates. While, you may think, it takes away from the pomp and ceremony attached to traditional afternoon tea, it instead makes it a casual meal you can enjoy with friends. It is no surprise that the dress code is casual and you see people wearing jeans and a t-shirt sipping tea next to the marble pillars and grand architecture.
Inside the restaurant the high ceilings and gilded frames exude a sense of grandeur while the relaxed, and friendly mood will put you at ease at any time of the day. This makes it a great to visit to mark an occasion or even if you fancy sipping tea by yourself and watching the world go by through their the grand windows.
The big draw to the restaurant, which is run by Marcus Wareing, is of course the fact that it’s set inside the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, in Euston Road, London. The walk into the hotel lobby, with the panoramic views of the fairytales facade, feels utterly regal. The venue has a magical ability in making you walk a few inches taller – simply by being around the splendour of the surroundings! The hotel was made famous in modern times by the Spice Girls who were seen charging through the venue in their music video Wannabe. So it’s rather fitting that such a majestic place has been etched in people’s mind because of the bold and brash pop group.
I love afternoon tea with friends and family but something that is disappointing is when venues give you one of each pastry. This often means you have to split it. Luckily, the afternoon tea at Gilbert Scott got a big thumbs up from me when I noticed they give you one of everything which allowed me to enjoy the mini macaroon, chocolate éclair, Victoria sponge cake and poppy & lemon cake all by myself. No afternoon tea is complete without scones served with strawberry jam and clotted cream. And these scones were served hot and fluffy and were utterly delicious!
When it came to sandwiches, it was clear that it aims to appeal to the international visitors that come into London from Europe via the nearby EuroStar Train. For one, they served a wrap filled with hummus, olives and red peppers. It may seem out of place elsewhere, but it works well considering the location. The other sandwiches included classics such as smoked salmon, cheese and pickle and a cheese tart (which was warm, creamy and the best thing on the savoury plate).
The restaurant, of course, offers a wide selection of teas, including English breakfast and my favourite Earl Grey as well as darjeeling and Assam tea to name a few.
Afternoon tea is served from 12pm to 4pm on Fridays, Saturdays and from 12pm to 5pm on Sundays.
The classic afternoon tea which features scones, sweet treats and savouries with your choice of tea costs £29 per person. The champagne afternoon tea with scones, sweet treats, sandwiches and a glass of Moët & Chandon, Brut NV is £41 per person. (Pink champagne costs an additional £4).The Nyetimber Rosé afternoon tea includes scones, sweet treats, sandwiches and a glass of 2009 Nyetimber Rosé and costs £45 per person.
The Gilbert Scott, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, London, NW1 2AR. Nearest tube: King Cross/St Pancras. Call 0207278388 to make a booking or log on www.thegilbertscott.co.uk for more information.