Looking for another dazzling dinner option? Bet on Counter 71 in Shoreditch.
For strictly the hits, head over to our guide the best restaurants in London.
What's the deal?
Glamour is cultivated by exclusivity. Anything that can be classified as glamorous will have a touch of secrecy about it – it’s for those in the know, a piece of covert intel passed between worthy participants. Though the Midland Grand Dining Room is housed in a cavernous Gothic-style space with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto busy Euston Road, it’s still a bit hard to find. If you enter through the entrance closer to Midland Road, you will need to pass through the Gothic Bar to get to the restaurant – the Midland Grand’s sister establishment and possibly the best looking bar in London, bedecked with elaborate wall frieze, gilded arches, and emerald-green marble. If you opt for the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel’s main entrance, you will need to navigate a positively labyrinthine network of hallways to get to your main destination, helped not at all by out-of-date signs that tell of the hotel’s many past as a railway office, apartments, and another hotel.
But the Midland Grand is worth the hunt. When you first lay eyes on her, you’ll be dazzled: first by the marble columns buttressing a double-height ceiling etched in elaborate gilded cornicework, then by the massive textured mirrors that adorn the terracotta walls, and finally by the generalised opulence of the space – a vestige of 19th-century ostentation that, happily, survives centuries of grasping development in Kings Cross. Lavish fauna and supple, velvet-decked furniture give the space the feel of a debauched den – the kind of place where a lunch can turn into a boozy, expensive, multi-hour affair.
So the decor is indeed grand. But what of the food? As you might expect at a place like this, the menu features French-inflected fine-dining favourites like paté en croute (at a punchy £15) or liver parfait with truffle and Madeira jelly, served with a duck fat-soaked Parker house roll. The chef is Patrick Powell, who is less known for his personal CV than for his longstanding partnership with powerhouse property developer Harry Handelsman. Handelsman is the man behind restaurants like Allegra and Chiltern Firehouse, both of which were once under Powell’s auspices as well. Together, they’ve been able to achieve great things, and the Midland Grand is no exception: the food matches the decor in no-holds-barred decadence. Though, if you’re ordering a la carte, a taste of greatness will cost you dearly; the weekday set lunch is more approachable, with two courses at £36 and three at £42. But if you’re looking to push the boat out – and why wouldn’t you at a place like this? – opt for the “Grand Sunday Lunch”, where two can share unabashedly aristocratic dishes like confit leg of lamb with braised carrot and salsa verde or lobster pain perdu with lemongrass and ginger. You are, after all, the king of your own destiny.
What should I eat?
The comté gougères are getting a lot of air time on the Instagrams of London foodie types – and rightfully so. Little craggy orbs of choux pastry crowned with a tuft of shredded cheese. Inside, it’s oozy comté and pickled walnut, warm on the tongue.
Not ordering the potato dauphinoise would be plain wrong. Here it comes in two formats – as a side, or a flagrantly indulgent large portion. It’s a prime example of the classic French dish, with cheese-smothered layers to die for.
Frilly, light, and gingerly constructed, the almond and clotted cream Paris-Brest is everything a French pastry should be – with a nod to England via the delicately piped filling, which peeks out the edges of the donut-shaped pastry like a pearl necklace, studded with strawberry and almond slices.
Why should I go?
To indulge like a monarch having their last supper.
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Rd., London NW1 2AR