I have been to St. Pancras Grand twice now, once in December and once this month. The first time I considered it to be pricey but fun for special occassions with a comfort food type of menu that was decent enough. The setting is gorgeous, I love St. Pancras Station, it is a very romantic setting and the restaurant is opposite the champagne bar, which is an excellent place for a tipple.
The Restaurant itself has a large golden ceiling and an old fashioned feel that I imagine is meant to make you feel nostalgic for the golden days of travel, even if you never knew them. The waiters are smartly turned out and the whole place exudes glamour, a place for birthdays or a particularly special holiday.
Which brings me sadly to the second visit, we went for my brothers birthday and kicked off with a glass of champagne from the champagne bar opposite. We then went to eat and were shown promptly to our table, and that was when it started to go wrong. The waiter came to take our order 30 minutes after we sat down, he seemd to find it difficult to understand us and we had to say everything twice, annoying but we were so grateful he was paying us some attention I don’t think we cared. 45 minutes after we sat down we were given something to drink, at this point my brother whispered that you didn’t really feel looked after here, which was absolutely right. We were all making an effort to have a good evening but it was hard to fight off the twitches and compuslive head turning that happen when you are longing to be served a glass of wine, or anything at all. After about an hour someone went to ask about the food and we were told that they were sorry but they were very busy. We were now gettnig to the point of having had too much to drink and not enough to eat and the waiter kept pouring the winde but not bringing any food. Another ten minutes passed before we were served the starters, mostly salads, and by that point the first thing I noticed was how small mine was. It was ostensibly a goats cheese salad but the goats cheese was sparingly served to say the least, however it tasted good enough. I think another long interval passed before the main courses arrived but by that point I had lost perspective and I’m not sure. There was one vegetrian main course so I had that, it was a courgette tart, which sounded fine but in practice was again fairly small and served without any side dishes, a practice I am increasingly growing to dislike. Three of us had the tart but as I raised the first forkful of mine to my lips I notced a blue plastic coating on the bottom, lifitng the tart up I realised that the bottom was covered in blue plastic in a lattice shape. Apparently the tray they left the tart to cool on had melted and stuck to the food. Now these sorts of things do happen and they were suitably disturbed by it, immediately replacing it and knocking £40 off the bill. However, if it had been the only thing wrong it would have been possible to write it off as a simple mistake but coming on top of the interminable waiting and lack of service generally I am afraid that it was the last straw and I will not be giong back.
The St. Pancras Grand has a lot of promise, it is in a good location and looks fantastic, the menu is broad enough to suit most people and not too adventurous to put too many people off, however it is terribly over priced, with a main course running from £9.50 (the courgette tart) to £19. It also feels as if, bouyed by their inital success, they have let things slip and forgotten that if your restaurant is the type of place people go for special occassions then you need to work hard to make people feel special when they go there.