German Gymnasium | Olympic Victorian Gymnasium Turned European Restaurant
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 four types of pork sausages and vegan flank steaks for meat- free eaters.
Sweep up either of the two grand staircases and you’ll come to the mezzanine restaurant. Sit back on one of the royal blue, upholstered booths in front of the large 19th century windows and soak up the atmosphere below from a distance. Up here, you can get the same much-loved brunch dishes by day. Come dinnertime, the lights dim, and you can 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). In the summer, you can snap up a table in their outdoor terrace for some much-loved alfresco dining in London.
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 Bauhaus-inspired cocktails, 65 whiskeys, and of course, a selection of Bavarian 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 is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can find out more and make a reservation right here.
German Gymnasium | 1 King’s Boulevard, N1C 4BU
Looking for something a little more quirky? Have a scroll through the most unusual restaurants in London…
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