Rail travel must have been a very different experience in 1869.
We say that not because the inevitable march of time changes all things, but because Booking Office 1869 – which is so-called because it’s housed in the original booking office for St Pancras station, back when it was built 150 years ago – is surely one of the most palatial spaces in the city. Yes, that’s where people used to buy train tickets. Who knows. Maybe in a couple of centuries, the grandest restaurants will be in small vestibules with perspex across them. For now, we have this.
Wander in, and the sheer scale is what hits you first. There are eight meter high palm trees that barely seem to come half way up to the cavernous ceiling. Light cascades in from the vast, arched brick windows lining the walls, and emanates from huge pendant lights that dangle from the ceiling, each of which is made up of (we’re told) 267 brass leaves. The emerald green bar is a massive 22 meters long, wrapping around the original ticket bureau itself. In fact, it feels almost more like a church than a restaurant.
To match the eye-popping interior, the show-runners have bussed in a chef worthy of it, too – one Patrick Powell, the former head chef at The Chiltern Firehouse and current head man at The Allegra in Stratford. He’s put together a menu of British-leaning, globally inspired dishes spanning from a hand-chopped steak tartare with salsa verde that you can ferry towards your mouth aboard beef-dripping toast; to barbecued carrots paired up with braised grains, yoghurt, pistachio, and dukkah; a coal-roasted poussin brightened up with preserved lemon & green chilli; and a soft brioche doughnut with caramelised apple & burnt cinnamon cream.
And backing him up at that gigantic bar is Jack Porter (formerly of The Ned), who’s curated a cocktail menu to match it all. You can score a Clear Margarita (given a smoky kick with “Ilegal Joven” mezcal), a Victoria Sour that throws pisco together with long pepper spice & plum syrup; and their Ol’ Signalman, which is built from an inventive pecan nut-infused bourbon, and topped off with coconut bitters.
And as a kicker? They’re making full use of the acoustics in the place with a live DJ series (every weekend between 9pm – 1am), and there are plans afoot to open a roof garden all the way up above that massive ceiling. Perfect for after dinner drinks.
Particularly because you can be pretty sure you’ll make the last train back.
NOTE: Booking Office 1869 is open Tues-Sat, 4pm-12am (1am Thurs-Sat). You can find out more, and make a booking at their website right HERE.
Booking Office 1869 | Euston Road, NW1 2AR
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