Has binging Emily In Paris got you in the mood for European chic? Or maybe you’re just after a fab supper in a bang-on location? Let us introduce to you RAILS Restaurant, a shiny new London restaurant that’s got us dreaming of upcoming escapes...
You may have spotted the entrance to this gem when hopping on the Eurostar, or for all you Harry Potter enthusiasts, making your way to Platform 9 ¾. Here, couples sat side-by-side in the open air, right on the corner next to St Pancras International, drinking a sexy cocktail or watching the world go by. After getting in a (very) beautiful mirrored lift, and tucked away on the first floor, we discovered a sleek space channelling the romance of rail travel from a bygone era.
Previously known as Plum and Spilt Milk, Great Northern Hotel gave their in-house restaurant a helluva refurb this year, and it definitely shows. Picture the scene: wooden parquet floors, panelled walls, cream leather booths, clusters of low-hanging lights and cute curtains that reminded me of dining on the Orient Express. Shades of teal and goal met funky artwork, while displays of dried flowers really completed the look.
The crowd was a mix of dates, relaxed client catch-ups and stylish office types, grabbing an after-work bite but with an elegant edge. Our table was a plush corner spot with a great view of the hustle and bustle outside, plus also our fellow diners (don’t judge, we know you do it too). The food on offer here is modern British cuisine and freshly grilled dishes, so perfect for the carnivores amongst you, all put together with French flair.
We began with a nifty beetroot salad (£8.50) and a St Marcellin with truffle honey (£10). The former was a nice mix of textures. Think lamb's lettuce, pine nuts, sunflower seeds and shimmering pomegranate jewels were gracefully brought together with two different types of beets. The lemony, green tahini dressing was very moreish and was a deliciously fresh start to our evening. Love camembert? Then you’ll adore the other starter, plus we were advised this was a must-try. Just imagine gooey dairy goodness baked in a little clay ramekin, matched well with the sourdough slices and sweet nectar. We didn’t get much earthy flavour but it was still my favourite dish of the night.
Drinks-wise, we ordered a lip-smacking Chablis white wine (£16) to compliment my main dish, alongside an elderflower and cucumber spritz (£8) for my date. Dry January, Sober October or cutting down on the booze? You’re covered, as the latter was a delightful, bubbly mix of Seedlip Garden, lime and soda, decorated with a dainty olive. Consider this your reminder to give it a good stir, as our first gulp was largely water. Rookie mistake.
It's now main course time, baby. I opted for a butternut squash barley risotto (£16), dotted with confit baby root vegetables. Pretty as a picture, the pea-green, herby oil was a superb combo with the flavourful, stock-soaked rice, satisfyingly bouncy and cooked al dente. My date’s choice of rib-eye steak (£35) was a serious showstopper. The meat was a 28-day, dry-aged, grass-fed fillet, grilled to order (ours was medium rare, in case you’re wondering). Drizzled in a full-bodied red wine jus, this perfectly-seasoned slab will be talked about for ages to come. The French fries (£5) were probably more similar to triple-cooked, gastro pub chips in my opinion but were seasoned well, fluffy on the inside and had the right amount of crunch.
Whenever you go on holiday, desserts are always a good idea, right? So, with this idea in mind we went for not one to share but two. The Chocolate Fondant (£9) was the ultimate end to the meal, featuring a decadent, rich, gloriously oozy centre alongside a crispy bitter tweel and heavenly vanilla cream. Guided by our friendly host, the pink and white plum cheesecake (£9) looked stunning placed on a black dish and was a decent pud, but we weren’t a fan of the gelatinous top. The beautifully crumbly base more than made up for that though.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Whether off on a glam city break or after a respite from the chaos of the capital, you should make a beeline for RAILS Restaurant and Little Bar. A swanky, sophisticated and sleek hideaway nestled just the right amount of distance away from the concourse, the interiors certainly don’t disappoint. It really is gorgeous. The fare was hearty, filling and attractive but not quite fine dining, but that's ok because the vibe was cool and very welcoming. So next time, when you’re nearby, why not pay them a visit?
💰 The damage: £116.50, excluding service.
📍 The location: King’s Cross St Pancras Station, Pancras Road, London, N1C 4TB.
👌 Perfect for: A relaxing but upmarket meal after a long journey.
⭐ Need to know: The banquette seats are pretty big and ideal for groups.