I have always been fascinated by human interactions at airports and train stations. Looking for free helpings of human drama but can’t afford Netflix? grab a coffee and take a seat in the nearest airport or station. Here is where loved ones reunite or are parted; where you will see tears of sadness, of laughter, and of love; where the full gamut of human emotions is played out, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. And there are few more majestic places to watch this drama play out than London St Pancras where Tracey Emin’s iconic neon installation “I want my time with you” seems to speak equally eloquently to those being reunited and those being parted. And when you grow weary of the human drama, head upstairs to St Pancras Brasserie and sink into a banquette to soothe your soul – and your hunger! I was recently invited to review their new Champagne Sunday brunch in conjunction with Laurent Perrier Champagne.
When most people think of Searcy’s at St Pancras, they think immediately of the Champagne bar which is situated on the upper concourse, alongside the Eurostar tracks. As Europe’s longest Champagne bar, it is definitely one of London’s more iconic places to sip on a glass of bubbles. But not everybody knows that opposite the Champagne bar is Searcy’s St Pancras Brasserie, situated in a rather grand room that feels like stepping back into a more civilised age of travel. Designer Martin Brudnizki has created a glamorous Art Deco space that evokes the grandeur and decadence of the the grand age of train travel, in keeping with the beautiful and historical station building. I loved the warm golden herringbone parquet floors and the recessed gilded ceilings. Booths are fitted out with leather banquettes and frosted glass panels between them which divide the room up into more intimate spaces; and there are stylish touches like stylised four-faced station clocks and vintage-inspired milky glass orb ceiling lights.
There is also a more secluded space for functions towards the back of the room, with a couple of high shared tables and very covetable blue leather barstools, which is where we were seated for our brunch. (There is also a fully separate and very lovely private dining room beyond that.) Unlike Saturday when brunch service ends at 11 (???) the brunch menu on Sunday is available all day (until 4pm), with a more “breakfasty” menu served from 9 till 11 and then more “lunchy” dishes added on after 11. The menu is divided into Bakes & Bowls (cereal, fruit, yoghurt and baked goods); Eggs (all manner of poached egg combinations including Benedict and Royale); and Plates (burgers, chicken caesar, steak, Sunday roast etc). We tried the Bakes & Bowls and the Eggs but not the Plates selection. We kicked off with glasses of gloriously pink Laurent Perrier Rosé Champagne, followed by some excellent English sparkling wine from Greyfriars estate in Surrey, opened as silently as a whisper by our wonderful waiter, Mario.
Our Bakes & Bowls spread was impressive to say the least. I did not try the croissants and pain au chocolat but am told that they were feather-light and flaky. The platter of melon and mango featured slices of gloriously ripe fruits; and the bowl of berries was packed with the most perfectly formed and intensely flavoured berries I have ever seen or tasted – the raspberries had an incredible depth of flavour! The surprise of the day for me was the delicious chia pudding which was made with coconut milk but the sweetness was balanced by the tart kiwi fruit pieces and the freshness of lemon verbena microgreens. But my favourite was definitely the bowl of decadently creamy Rainy Lanes yoghurt with crunchy granola, pomegranate seeds and a poached pear. Absolutely heavenly and an idea I plan to copy at home!
The dishes in the Eggs section mainly feature variations on a poached eggs theme with different accompaniments; but there are also pancakes with maple syrup and bacon; a sausage bacon and egg roll; or scrambled eggs with smoked salmon. Much as I am always tempted by eggs royale, I stepped out of my eggy comfort zone and chose two poached eggs, chorizo, feta, avocado and black olives on sourdough. The poached eggs were perfectly runny and the olives, chorizo and feta were all excellent quality, but the whole dish seemed a little dry – I feel it was missing some sort of Hollandaise-y sauce. My neighbour’s poached eggs with smoked haddock and a mustard hollandaise seemed more… complete (and smelled divine!). I also had a cappuccino and a macchiato and both were excellent.
The full 3-course brunch for two people (2 courses from Bakes & Bowls and one from Eggs) with a bottle Laurent Perrier Rosé Champagne is not cheap at £165 for two; but there are a range of other options for Sunday brunch, including replacing the rosé champagne with a bottle of Searcy’s Selected Cuvee Brut (which is made for them by Laurent Perrier) – £120 for 2 – or even more affordable options that feature only a glass of bubbles each (see their website for more details). It’s the perfect place to take your Valentine this weekend – or any Sunday, really, followed by a snuggle under Tracey Emin’s installation 🙂
DISCLOSURE: I enjoyed this meal as a guest of Searcy’s St Pancras but received no further remuneration to write this post. I was not expected to write a positive review – all views are my own and I retain full editorial control.
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