What can you tell us about the German Gymnasium
First off, the name is literal. The huge building, nestled between King's Cross and St Pancras was once a large German Gym, the first of its kind in the UK. Bits and pieces of artwork reflect back on the heritage and the main open structure of the building also remains. And in keeping with the German theme, there's a very Germanic slant to the menu.
Where is it?
If you cross over between King's Cross and St Pancras from the back entrances, or are heading towards Granary Square, you won't miss the huge building taking pride of place here. Local commuters will have recently seen it unveiled after being covered up for a VERY long time - but it does scrub up well.
Where should we go for a drink first?
There are lots of options in King's Cross now - but there are three close-by places we'd recommend. First off, the Parcel Yard is the best pub in the area and Vinoteca is good for a quick drink if you can grab a table. And round the corner, Notes coffee shop and wine bar is perfect for a quiet pre-dinner drink (that's where we went).
But you should definitely make some time before your meal to check out The German Gym's own cocktail bar on the upper floor, it's the best new spot in the area if you're in the mood for a proper cocktail or two. The proces are around the £11.50 mark, but we had a couple of excellent drinks there - with smoke put to good use in the Haig Old Fashioned. So it'll definitely go on the list as a good spot for a drink in the area.
And where should we sit?
That depends on what kind of dining experience you're after. Upstairs shifts slightly more towards finer side of dining and sharing platters (and you can get a good view of the restaurants downstairs). However, we decided to try the place that's likely to get the most footfall from commuters and travellers - the grand café downstairs.
And what about the food?
As mentioned, there's a big German focus on the menu - perhaps something of a risk for such a large restaurant, but it was heaving on our visit. So there are sausages, schnitzel and sauerkraut - but the dishes that stood out for us were:
- The enormous - we're really not exaggerating here, it was huge - veal schnitzel (£21). It comes with potato salad and lingonberry compote and would be a meal in itself. There was a nice light touch on the crumb here, which was welcome.
- The beef goulash (£16.50) - with huge slow cooked chunks of beef on the bone.
- The pastry cabinet - particularly worth a visit for the raspberry lemon meringue tart - although the contents will change regularly.
What about drink?
On the night we were invited, we didn't actually get to work our way around the wine list - but wine starts at £19.50 a bottle and plenty of German wines are promised on the list.
The German Gym is another good addition to the King's Cross dining scene, where every big new restaurant seems to be adding something slightly different for the mix. The Grand Cafe seems to be a perfect place for passing commuters and we'll be putting that cocktail bar to good use ourselves.
The German Gymnasium is at 1 King's Blvd, London N1C 4BU. Find out more.
Hot Dinners were invited to the German Gymnasium - prices were correct at the time of writing.