The Midland Grand Dining Room | Exceptional French Dining in a Stunning Setting
The Midland Grand Dining Room has just opened its doors, and it’s every bit as grand as you’d hope.
And, in a second stroke of luck for Londoners, it’s absolutely nowhere near the Midlands.
It occupies, without exaggeration, one of the most architecturally stunning settings in the city: the former Midland Grand Hotel (now St. Pancras Renaissance) by King’s Cross station (originally owned by the Midland Railway Company, hence the name). Since its renovation in 2011, the ornate Victorian construction has been restored to its former glory – and just walking to the restaurant inside is an experience in itself. You’ll pass the famous staircase where the Spice Girls filmed Wannabe; stroll the length of an opulent corridor with tiled flooring and hand-painted murals; and finally, pass through a gilded neo-Gothic archway into the Midland Grand Dining Room.
Triple height moulded ceilings with vast chandeliers hang over the space. There are slender windows soaring to the ceiling, with views of the hotel’s iconic clock tower. There’s a lot to work with, architecturally, but they’ve stopped the place feeling draughty and austere with warm copper walls, sumptuous chenille armchairs and banquettes, and cabaret lamps on every table, casting a speckled glow across the room. Basically, they could serve a tin of baked beans in here, and it would probably feel like the most luxurious meal you’d ever had.
But they don’t.
Under the restaurant’s previous incarnation, Marcus Wareing was at the helm – and it seems the show-runners haven’t lost their taste for talented chefs. Heading up The Midland Grand is Patrick Powell, who worked with Anthony Demetre at Wild Honey and Nuno Mendes at Chiltern Firehouse before opening his own restaurant in Stratford, Allegra, in 2019.
At The Midland Grand, it’s clear from the outset that you’re in the hands of a consummate pro. You can start your meal with appetisers of comté gougères with pickled walnut, and parmesan fritters topped with scrolls of shaved coppa. Definitely get the gilda: a classic Basque pintxo of a cocktail stick skewered through olives and pickled chillis, but with the traditional anchovy swapped for peppery octopus here.
The menu that follows has been broadly inspired by the French cuisine first served in this room when it opened in 1873. There are veal sweetbreads & lovage vol-au-vents, a daily pâté en croûte, and snails to start; and generous mains to share – roast chicken with morels and garlic, an 800g rib-eye steak, and a whole John Dory with smoky vadouvan spice and mussels. If vegetarians are starting to feel concerned at this point, don’t be, because you can claim one of the best items on the menu: the tomato tarte Tatin is a melt-in-the-mouth union of butter-rich pastry and soft, intensely-flavoured sundried tomato.
For desserts, you can choose between strawberry & almond Paris-Brest, twice-baked chocolate cake and a show-stopping Bombe Alaska for two. There’s also a soufflé of the day (caramelised banana on our visit), baked to perfection and resolutely unsinkable.
Naturally, there’s a whole host of spritzes, wines and classic cocktails to go with it all – and it’s worth knowing that the set lunch menu here is surprisingly reasonable (from £36 for two courses).
We can’t think of anywhere nicer to wait for, and inevitably miss, a train.
NOTE: The Midland Grand Dining Room is open for Tuesday dinner, Wed-Sat lunch and dinner, and Sunday lunch. You can make a booking here, but they also take walk-ins.
The Midland Grand Dining Room | St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, London NW1 2AR
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