Kings Cross is kind of still my home, although I don’t reside in the area at the moment. A few years ago I made a clever flat investment on the Caledonian Road which I now rent out. Over the years I have been lucky enough to see the changing face of the area. Eurostar popped up allowing you to travel internationally, the back of Kings Cross station was developed and is now home to fantastic restaurants such as Grain Store, Caravan and more recently, Dishoom. It even upped its cool factor with Central Saint Martin College, the world-famous art college, planting its roots firmly here.
There is no shortage of things to do in the area with Granary Square hosting outdoor festivals and cinemas, Frame with its outdoor yoga and fitness sessions and of course, a train ride to Paris!
German Gymnasium, part of the heavy weight restaurant group D&D London, has grabbed a site which was originally a sporting association for the German Gymnastics Association, on Kings Boulevard.
As I had my shoe designer friend in from Los Angeles (sounds so glam I know), I thought it would be nice to check out this evolving side of Kings Cross. D&D London have been around for a long time, so I had faith that they would know what they are doing.
There appears to be two areas aside from the bar, which is not immediately clear when you book online. I thought we would be in the Grand Cafe, but as we had chosen an a la carte menu we were put in the restaurant upstairs. The restaurant circles around the edge of the big hall like space, so you can look down into the central Grand Cafe. The restaurant is quite a formal space, so my Metallica t-shirt and Angelo’s nose piercing and top-cum-dress was probably a bit of a shock to the business suited and booted diners already there as we sashayed in. Did I care, not a bit. Sling it.
We settled down at our tiny table and started with a half dozen Colchester rock oysters to share. Lush. For main course, Angelo had salmon cutlet with braised Belgium endives and orange emulsion. He was happy with the portion size and taste. I went for the grilled wild jumbo prawns with spinach, garlic and chilli and OMG they were huge. It was literally like you were having lobster meat from its shell. Mutant big. That said, £29.00 is still a bit steep for two of ’em.
In terms of wine, I have no idea what we had, as I trusted their Sommelier. Now these wine experts can be quite intimidating. They have been known to make you feel like an idiot when you don’t know when to sniff, when to swish and when to spit out – but Virgile had the friendliest face ever and was really helpful on the wine descriptions. I wanted dry and light, Angelo wanted sweet and full bodied. We got exactly what we wanted. Please, can all Sommeliers be like Virgile?
Apparently downstairs in the Grand Cafe is where you get snippets of Germany with hot dogs and the like. I don’t think I missed out too much on that.
Overall, German Gymnasium is not a casual weekly dining destination for me. The slightly uptight style in the restaurant and its priceyness, makes it more of a special occasion place to impress the folks. I would be keen to check out the cocktail bar though, as that looked really inviting.
London N1C 4BU
T. 020 7287 8000