Andy Mossack eats at St. Pancras by Searcys, a brasserie within touching distance of the Eurostar.
It’s Friday afternoon and I’m enjoying a rather decadent lunch on the Grand Terrace by Platform 5 at St. Pancras International watching the Eurostar as it departs for Paris.
It’s an outside table at Searcys Brasserie and it’s what I would call a prime spot for people-watching as Eurostar passengers hurry to board or arrivals make their way off. I’m also opposite Searcys famed Champagne Bar, so all in all it’s an entertaining tableau of life in constant motion. And the best part? The feel is so continental I honestly feel I could be in France.
The transformation of St. Pancras International and the Kings Cross area has been remarkable. What was once a rundown, very dodgy part of London, has become uber-trendy with high-end retailers and restaurants enjoying a traffic-free, canal-side life. The Victorian-era St. Pancras was reborn, it’s colossal arched terminus and raised platforms restored to their former glory; repurposed and reimagined as a 21st-century thing of beauty.
The Searcys brasserie interior is classic 20s art-deco with a gold ceiling, herringbone oak floor, old wall clocks, private booths, and vintage lighting. It’s a throwback to the golden age of travel when travelling by train was reserved for the well-heeled. The Champagne Bar, the longest in Europe, is equally resplendent with bar seating and private leather booths perhaps replicating a train carriage.
Amidst all this wonderment we take our table outside on the terrace, protected from the weather by the enormous arched canopy, of course, to enjoy our leisurely lunch. It’s an all-day a la carte menu, plus a 2 or 3-course market menu
But as it’s decadence we’re seeking, we’re going full a la carte.
A debate ensues on starters. A chilled Isle of Wight tomato soup with aged balsamic vinegar and basil (£7.50) is tempting, as is the lobster bisque (£11). But we both decide on Searcys smoked salmon served from the trolley with capers, onions, and mayo (£12.50). Naturally, a large, crisp, cold glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (£12.50) washes it all down a treat.
Our French waiter triumphantly arrives with the trolley, and I attempt a poor joke as he’s plating up: “I suppose you hop on the Eurostar back to Paris each evening.” To which he casually replies as he delivers the plates to our table, “I’m afraid not sir, I’m from Marseilles.” Touché mon ami. The salmon is deliciously generous and served with soft delicate blinis on the side.
There’s a small pause as we await our mains and I enjoy a parade of brides to be boarding the Eurostar for hen weekends in Paris. They all look up for a party.
Mrs M has ordered a whole lemon sole with parsley butter swapping the offered Jersey potatoes for buttered green beans (£23). “This is absolutely perfect” she manages to mutter between mouthfuls. High praise indeed from a woman whose penchant for lemon sole knows no bounds.
I have plumped for a Searcys classic; Creedy Carver chicken pie which comes with a forest of sauteed mushrooms and tarragon (£17.50). I also can’t resist a side of heritage tomatoes (£4.50) to sweeten the deal. The pie doesn’t disappoint either. It’s a belter; round and crumbly with a buried treasure of mashed potato hidden alongside chunks of melt-in-your-mouth chicken.
Had we the room, we would have no doubt dived into the hot chocolate soufflé (£8) or perhaps the classic lemon tart with raspberry and Crème Fraiche (£7) amongst a bevvy of other pudding options, but alas our decadence was fully sated.
St. Pancras by Searcys offers excellent brasserie fare made all the better by the iconic views of the new St. Pancras International. If you’re not going to Paris on the Eurostar it’s surely the next best thing.
All food images except afternoon tea (C) Andy Mossack
Tell me more about St. Pancras by Searcys
St. Pancras by Searcys, Grand Terrace, Upper Concourse, St Pancras International Station, London, N1C 4QL
E: StPancrasReception@searcys.co.uk T: 0044 (0) 20 7870 9900
Monday-Saturday: 11.30am – 9:30pm (last reservation 9:15pm)
Sunday: 12pm – 6pm (last reservation 4:45pm)
Market Menu 2 courses £19.50 and £25 with a glass of English sparkling wine, 3 courses £25 and £29 with a glass of English sparkling wine.
Afternoon Tea in a Suitcase at St Pancras Champagne Bar
The Staycation Afternoon Tea includes a selection of savouries, freshly baked scones served with strawberry preserve and clotted cream, along with decadent sweet treats including a Passion fruit éclair, Chocolate and citrus tart and Pistachio cherry slice. Sit back in one of the individual booths, complete with the original ‘Press for Champagne’ buttons and enjoy with a glass of Veuve Clicquot, with the option to upgrade to a limitless pour.
Monday-Sunday 3pm-5pm. From £39.