The Midland Grand Dining Room opened in May 2023, taking the place of The Gilbert Scott. The restaurant is tucked away in a wing of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, originally called The Midland Grand Hotel. The restaurant offers a broadly French menu, with dishes such as grilled poussin and veal sweetbreads with petit pois. The head chef is Patrick Powell, who learned his trade at Ecrivain and also worked at Chiltern Firehouse, Wild Honey and was most recently head chef of Allegra. The dining room is very grand, with a vaulting ceiling, widely spaced tables and chandeliers. The menu was a la carte, with starters £12 to £19, mains £24 to £40, side dishes £7 to £8, cheese £18 and dessert £8 to £14. There were also some snacks and petit fours available, so there were plenty of options.
The wine list had 225 labels and ranged in price from £34 to £750, with a median price of £85 and an average markup to retail price of 3.1 times, which these days is not excessive by London standards. Sample references were Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc E. Guigal 2021 at £40 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £14, Fattoria Selvapiana Villa Petrognano Pomino 2017 at £60 compared to its retail price of £20, and Tyrrell’s HVD Single Vineyard Semillon 2015 at £85 for a wine that will set you back £31 in the high street. For those with the means, there was Chateau La Mission Haut Brion 2006 at £620 compared to its retail price of £372, and Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru Bouchard Pere & Fils 2010 at £750 for a wine whose current market value is £546. The list was 59% French, but it featured wines from places as far afield as Canada and Armenia, and if you really want some orange wine from Croatia then this list has you covered. There were ten wines under £50 and 78 choices under £75, so quite a good choice at the lower end of the list.
Gougeres were made with aged Comte, the choux pastry good and having a liquid cheese centre and a garnish of pickled walnut and more cheese on top. Parmesan fritter was flavoured with black garlic and shaved capocollo ham (15/20 nibbles). My starter was vol au vent of veal sweetbread with petit pois and girolle mushrooms. The pastry was delicate and the sweetbreads were light and creamy, the richness nicely balanced by the peas and mushrooms. This was the dish of the meal for me (16/20). Other starter options included a snail bourguignon with a rich, unctuous sauce flavoured with nduja and guanciale, the snail resting on a bed of pommes paillasson (potato cake).
For the main course I had grilled poussin from France. This had a red pepper glaze, and green olive tapenade. The poultry had very good flavour, the meat tender and nicely complemented by the olive and pepper flavours of the accompaniments (15/20). Dauphinoise potatoes on the side were very good with excellent texture, as indeed were some chips and petit pois.
I was in the mood for cheese tonight, a quartet of English and French cheeses in good condition. However, I was assured by my dining companion that the banana souffle was very good, and an apple tart tatin that I tasted had good pastry, though June seems an odd time of year to be serving it. Coffee was from Kiss the Hippo in Fitzrovia, one of the better London roasters.
The bill came to £172 per person. If you shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical cost per person might be around £95. Bear in mind that the extras, fi you choose them, can easily mount up: the bread is charged separately, the petit fours are extra over and above the £5 double espresso, and the side vegetables nudge the price up. Nonetheless the pricing did not seem to me excessive given the quality of the overall experience. I enjoyed The Midland Grand Dining Room. The room is lovely, the staff excellent and the menu is appealing, with a good standard of cooking.