Brummell recommends: Booking Office 1869

In a magnificent space in the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Booking Office 1869 combines one of the most beautiful restaurant interiors in London with superlative cooking and cocktails

Food and Drink 18 Jan 2022

The Booking Office 1869
The Booking Office 1869 features a well-stocked raw bar
The bar at Booking Office 1869

The background

Booking Office 1869 replaces the hotel’s former restaurant, Booking Office. The new restaurant comes with a new menu from Patrick Powell, formerly of Chiltern Firehouse and Wild Honey, while the interiors are designed by Parisian architect and designer Hugo Toro, whose connection with the hotel dates back to the design of the grand staircase famous for appearing in the video for The Spice Girls hit, Wannabe. Booking Office 1869 reopened at the end of 2021, bringing a particularly glamorous Victorian Golden Age of Travel feeling to the hotel.

The stunning interior of Booking Office 1869
The stunning interior of Booking Office 1869

The space

Hugo Toro has taken the impressive space in the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel and has transformed it into one of London’s most beautiful restaurants. Booking Office 1869 has a winter garden theme complete with palm trees and verdant fabrics, mixed with the arches of the hotel’s gothic interior, plush velvets, shining wooden floors and accents and brass fixtures. Enormous drop chandeliers hang from the high ceilings and ornate arched windows offer a fitting view out on to St Pancras Station. It’s a truly elegant and breathtaking space that will impress anyone, even the most unflappable Londoner.

The menu

Every meal at Booking Office 1869 should start with something from the restaurant’s raw bar – a selection of the season’s finest oysters and a tuna skewer with daikon. To follow, a selection of snacks including Gordal olives with anchovies, cashew hummus or fried chicken with lime and yoghurt is enough to pique one’s appetite for the delicious selection of starters that include a fresh and sublime beef tartare with salsa verde, barbequed carrots with dukkah, yoghurt and pistachio and an irresistible Tuscan Brussels sprout salad with crispy chicken skin, cranberry and Pecorino. True to its theme of travel, chef Powell’s menu takes influence from across the Middle East, Europe and America, but it is held together by a concentration on bold and balanced flavours and dishes that satisfy.

The superlative House Martini at Booking Office 1869
The superlative House Martini at Booking Office 1869

Highlights of the main courses include a fried fish sandwich with spicy tartare sauce and served in a bao-style steamed bun; grilled pork collar with sauce ravigote, caramelised lemon and watercress; and a soft and aromatic slow roasted lamb shoulder cooked in chermoula spices for two, served with yogurt, flatbread and pickled onion. The monkfish and potato curry also came highly recommended by the friendly and informative staff and arrived fragrant and moreish with satisfyingly large chunks of meaty fish in a delicious sauce.

For dessert, don’t miss the traditional and comforting blackberry trifle if it’s on the menu – it’s the perfect expression of one of the country’s favourite puddings. The brioche donut with rhubarb and cinnamon cream was another must-order from the dessert menu and balanced the tart fruit perfectly with sugary pastry.

The gothic revival building works perfectly with Hugo Toro’s interiors

To drink, the cocktail menu is definitely worth browsing – the house martini is particularly good, as is the clear margarita and St Pancras sgroppino, which comes with a slowly melting sorbet that slowly enriches the cocktail as you drink. The restaurant also offers a clever and tempting selection of alcohol-free cocktails using Salcombe Distillery’s New London Light and Seedlip to delicious effect. Happily, the wine list includes a large number of excellent vintages available by the glass or carafe as well as an extensive bottle list and is reasonably priced, impressively so for this kind of restaurant.

The bill

A three-course meal for two with cocktails and wine, around £150.

The verdict

A destination restaurant which is as much substance as it is style, Booking Office 1869 is an exciting reworked addition to the London dining scene, and one that promises to make any meal a special occasion.