Review of 'German Gymnasium'

German Gymnasium has been high on my list of restaurants to visit for quite some time with exceptional reviews. When they offered a set menu as part of the “Evening Standard” “D&D London’s Summer Festival” for three courses for £30 (including a glass of Chandon champagne) we jumped at the chance and we were not disappointed.

The restaurant is, as you might expect, a former “German Gymnasium” built in 1865 for the “German Gymnastics Society”. It is located in a standalone brick building just outside the back door of Kings Cross station before you get to the swanky new office and residential towers. The building itself has to be a big draw with an amazing 50 foot high central atrium with seating on the ground floor and along a balcony following the four walls on the first floor. It is a stunner - Very modern interior with amazing wooden beams highlighted with spotlights far above our heads. Both floors have a bar area with seating around it and, in the better weather, a bar area outside as well. There is seating for quite a large number of people here and often the place is full so it can get quite noisy with all of the harsh surfaces.

We were shown to a table on the first floor on a busy Wednesday evening. The a la carte menu consisted of two pages of food then the rest was set aside for drinks which seems to make a large part of their trade with the expected German beers but also a good, modest selection of wines and spirits. The food part of this menu consists of standard starters and mains but also “sharing platters” which to me look to be the better deal. At a rough guess expect to pay about £50 for three courses without drinks from this menu. Our menu, on the other hand, was much shorter but included many dishes which I suspect are quite popular here.

After making our selection (sticking generally to the German options as, after all, this is a German restaurant) we were brought an absolutely delicious selection of warm breads served with butter and a sour-cream-garlic(ish) spread (I did not like this but my companion did). All very fresh and prepared perfectly.

I started with the “Bayrischer Wurstsalat” (smoked pork sausage, cabbage, caraway, gherkins, red onions, crispy Gruyere cheese, mustard dressing) which looked amazing and tasted even better. The “crispy cheese” was a simple deep fried stick that added a nice crunchy note to the otherwise software textures of the “cole slaw” topped with it's crown of a rolled thin band of the (mild but tasty) sausage. A great start to our meal.

My companion started with the “Chilled avocado & coconut soup” (peppers, toasted seeds) which had a wonderful, creamy, and fresh flavour but, as we saw with most dishes, quite a large portion size.

For our main we both chose the “Sun blushed tomato & Cheddar stuffed chicken Schnitzel” (crushed thyme & lemon potatoes, cucumber salsa) which was absolutely delicious. The schnitzel was still very juicy and had a wonderful crunchy coating with the tomato and cheese filling adding flavour. The bed of potatoes and “salsa” also had a wonderfully tangy jus that was by far the strongest flavour on the plate. Again, the portion size was quite large…

For dessert we had the choice of sorbet/ice cream, cheeses or Apple strudel. We had to go for the “Apple strudel” (vanilla sauce) and we are very glad we did with a very light pastry and deliciously tangy apple filling. I found the vanilla sauce extremely bland but my companion disagreed.

So the general conclusions we had for the food were: For this type of fairly up-market restaurant the portion sizes were very large (be warned - perhaps two courses would be enough for most); The food was generally quite bland (though it could be argued that most German food is) with not a lot of stand out flavours, the exception being the highlight of the meal - my “sausage salad”; The quality was amazing as was the presentation; The (a la carte) prices were about average.

Throughout our visit the staff were amazing and efficient if not terribly talkative though helpful when asked. A 12.5% service charge was automatically added to our bill.

Well worth a visit though reservations…and an empty stomach…are recommended.

Rating:

Review Date: 2018-08-08


Cuisine: German

Address: 1 King's Boulevard, London N1C 4BU ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE King's Cross St. Pancras NRLOGO London King's Cross NRLOGO St. Pancras International

Location: London (England) - Camden Town

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Telephone: +44 (0) 207 287 8000

URL: https://www.germangymnasium.com/