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St Pancras Grand

Jan Moir, Are You Ready To Order?

The critic visits a restaurant that’s “almost completely empty”, and where the staff have been “drilled… in the art of the hard sell”. “Poor, swivel-eyed waiters loiter outside on the concourse, trying to entrap passing trade like timeshare sellers on the Spanish costas”.

Her sampling of the menu finds a “muted” and “bland” cuisine. “However, in the end, it is the wine list that really sums up the real intentions of Searcys and St Pancras Grand. The ethos does not seem to be ‘how can we show some hospitality and goodwill to these travelling customers’ but ‘how can we best trick these suckers out of their hard-earned wages?’.”

“In the end”, she concludes, “this is a great train robbery. Only the dazed, confused and quite possibly lost would eat here, instead of saving their money to dine somewhere decent in Paris and beyond. And anyone arriving in the UK from Europe and having their first meal in this restaurant would only have their prejudices confirmed about British food.”

David Sexton, Evening Standard (Rating: 3/5 stars)

The critic visits this “beautiful” new dining room at St Pancras, where he finds food that’s “highly professional and not bad value [but] not aiming to be exceptional or challenging”, which is perhaps another way of saying that there’s quite a lot of “soothing blandness” about. This cuisine is accompanied by a “short wine-list [that’s] well-designed but distinctly steep”.

Richard Vines, Bloomberg (Rating: 2/4 stars)

Finding a “mixed picture”, the financial news service’s man likes the railway station restaurant only up to a point. The piece is of most of note, though, for two bits of news. One is the blockbuster revelation that he is a “former British Rail train announcer”, and the other is that Fay Maschler has gone into the restaurant consulting business (with the motto “get the critics before they get you”) and consulted on the operation here. Hmm.

12 Temple Place, Swissôtel The Howard

Marina O'Loughlin, Metro (Rating: 2/5 stars)

Chef Brian Spark (ex-Lanesborough and, um, Jaan [the former restaurant on this site])” is “a man with ambition whose menu comes on like a gust of fresh air”, says the critic, on visiting the relaunched dining room of a somewhat anonymous hotel by Temple tube. The menu offers some “intriguing food pairings”, but realisation of the dishes turns out to be largely disappointing.


Rowan Moore, Evening Standard (Rating: 2/5 stars)

The Standard’s (architecture) critic visits this Soho Japanese newcomer where the “big idea is that your table is an interactive screen, where by pointing and clicking you can find your menu, see pictures of each item, and order”. “It’s a gimmick with a capital G”, of course, but it’s “fun for all that, and you should go once just for the ride”. The overall effect of the cuisine is “a surfeit of sticky gunk”, with “a lack of freshness in the taste, and frightening swings from the good to the truly horrible”.

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