Chefs have a saying:
“Always, always open your restaurant in the oldest gymnasium in the country, and it helps if the place also once hosted all the indoor events at the 1866 Olympics.”
Granted, it’s not a huge amount of chefs that say that, but the ones that do, end up with a place like this.
One such chef is Bjoern Wassmuth (formerly from Hamburg’s Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten), and this place is the German Gymnasium – a vast, gorgeous, warehouse-like building next to Kings Cross with the kind of 57ft high ceilings that trigger whatever reflex action it is that makes you say “This must be ludicrously expensive to heat in the winter”.
Sadly, all the pommel horses have been taken out. Happily, they’ve been replaced with…
THE GRAND CAFÉ
The ground floor’s given over to the beautiful, European-style all-day “Grand Café”, serving Teutonic classics like veal schnitzel, goulash, and smoked Schinkenknackers, as well as – naturally – a patisserie counter filled with German chocolate bars & gingerbread. On weekends, they serve an exceptional brunch, with German Power Breakfasts (Bavarian meatloaf, potato rostis and eggs), baked eggs and strüdel; though if you want to go bottomless, you’ll need to head to –
Sweep up either of the two grand staircases and you’ll come to the mezzanine restaurant. Brunch here comes with endless bubbles and either a two or three course meal that leans heavily on the “-unch” part, with dishes like chicken schnitzel with rocket, confit peppers, wild mushrooms, and lemon; and currywurst with curried tomato sauce and triple cooked chips. Come dinnertime, the lights dim, and you’ll order a butchers plate of everything from smoked pork ribs to potato dumpling, and something from the German-leaning wine list to wash it down with (before remarking on how you always thought German wine was SO underrated).
THE MEISTER BAR
As in Bürgermeister (master of the citizens) or Jägermeister (master of the lads, lads, lads); the Meister Bar is the master of bars – a key distinction, seeing as there are two in this building. Centred around a soaring, illuminated display of spirits, the Meister bar is an important pitstop on your way up, or indeed down, those stairs, not least because it serves cocktails inspired by famous perfumes, three types of Bellini, 65 whiskeys, and a sextet of cigars. And four beers.
Oh, and they’ve also got a gadget called “Le Whaf”, which they use to vapourize cocktails into “breathable clouds”, so you can, at last, inhale that Old Fashioned.
Time to go to the gym and put on a few pounds.
NOTE: German Gymnasium reopens on 12th April. You can find out more, and book a table outside on their terrace, right HERE.
German Gymnasium | 1 King’s Boulevard, N1C 4BU
Looking for a nightcap spot? Check out The Racketeer.