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Test Driving Booking Office 1869 - a big makeover and a Patrick Powell menu at St Pancras

roomThe new look Booking office - note specifically the new trees as well as the new roof. Generally speaking, it looks VERY impressive when you walk in. 

What can you tell us about Booking Office 1869?

It's a complete reworking of the Booking Office space in the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. Previously opened as simply "Booking Office", it was a perfectly fine bar and restaurant - but really not one befitting of such an incredible Grade II listed room.

Now the man behind the hotel, Harry Handelsman, has given it the revamp it deserves. As he's the man who opened Chiltern Firehouse and Allegra and he's brought in a chef who's been at both (and runs the latter) - Patrick Powell. 

So it looked good before - what exactly have they changed?

A surprising amount. We've been in the room before but the design really helps to accentuate its impressiveness. Tall trees throughout emphasise the height of the room and draw your eye up to the ceiling which has been adorned with a new fabric covering. This has two effects - it really helps to brighten the room, but it also helps to absorb sound so it's a much less cacophonous space (apparently it was so difficult to install the fabric that they had to attempt it twice). 

They've combined that with a look that's significantly more classic, yet clubby in feel. For instance, there's now a dark wooden bar (which really brings out the titular booking office at the centre), lots of brass and swish new seating. 

All in all, it's another one to add to the "best looking restaurants in London" list. 

roomIf you're coming from St Pancras station, head up to the first floor of the concourse and look for this door.

Where actually is it?

If you haven't been before, there are two ways in. First is through the St Pancras Renaissance hotel itself (which would give you a chance for a quick look at the famous Spice Girls staircase) or from the station - although this entrance is closed later in the evening. The station entrance is on the first floor of the main St Pancras shopping concourse, at the front of the station. 

Is it a place to head for a drink first?

Yes indeed. While we're still partial to a drink in the very reliable Parcel Yard pub in King's Cross, this makes for a very useful place to pop by for a drink. The bar menu has had a complete makeover thanks to Jack Porter (previously at The Library Bar at The Ned) and the drinks include an excellent "Clear Margarita" and this:

roomThis is the House Martini (Hepple Gin or Sapling Vodka / Dry Vermouth / Organic Beeswax / Black Olive) for £15. It's kept as cold as possible in its little ice bucket with the olives separate. They also infuse it with the beeswax - it's an impressive martini. 

Onto the food - what's changed?

As mentioned, they've brought chef Patrick Powell in to completely revamp the menu. He first made his name at Chiltern Firehouse before moving on to his own restaurant Allegra in Stratford, where he's been winning lots of praise. The menu at Booking Office 1869 is a little less formal than the food at Allegra - it's a different audience, after all. They've pitched it as "classic dishes finished with a modern twist" and while there's a flavour of that, the menu certainly reads very well, taking in influences from across the globe.

Here's a taste of what's on offer:

roomTuna Skewer with daikon, white soy & toasted sesame (£4 each or £11 for three) - order immediately while you get down to looking at the menu. 

roomFried chicken with yogurt and lime (£9) - Patrick has told us he's been perfecting his chicken over the past months and it really shows here. A must-order. 

roomThe highly seasonal (we went in during the Christmas festivities) roasted brussels sprouts with crispy chicken skin, cranberry & Pecorino (£12) - they are planning a version of this that changes seasonally on the menu (expect kale instead of sprouts)

roomOf the mains - we opted for this slow-roasted lamb shoulder cooked in chermoula spices served with yogurt, flatbread and pickled onion (£52). It says it's for two to share but frankly, this could easily have fed three.

roomTearing into that slow-roasted lamb. Just phenomenal. You may need to ask for some extra flatbread to make the most of this. 

roomSides include these excellent roasted new season potatoes with blue cheese & spring onion (£6)

roomWe find it very hard to resist a trifle. This blackberry version would be an ideal sharing dish to finish things up (£9) 

roomThe surprisingly light brioche donut with caramelised apple and burnt cinnamon cream (£9)

Anything else?

There's a lot more to the "mains" part of the menu with dishes like monkfish & potato curry with spinach, spring onion & lime (£28) and the grilled pork collar with sauce ravigote, caramelised lemon & watercress (£25) both sounding good. There's also the option of a burger or steak and fries too. 

What about drinks?

Outside of the cocktails, there's a good choice of wines by the glass or 500ml carafe and bottles start at £29, which is not too bad for this kind of destination space. 

Overall thoughts

If you're looking to go out for dinner somewhere that's on the spectacular side, then the room at Booking Office 1869 certainly fits the bill. It's had quite the makeover and when teamed up with a big improvement in the menu thanks to Patrick Powell, this really fits the bill if you're looking for a special night out. 

 

More about Booking Office 1869

Where is it? Booking Office 1869, Euston Road, London NW1 2AR

How to book: Book online or call 020 7841 3566

Find out moreVisit their website or follow them on Instagram @bookingoffice

Hot Dinners ate as guests of Booking Office 1869. Prices are correct at the time of writing. 

 

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