I've got a really great London brunch spot for you today that serves up killer White Peach and Elderflower Bellinis, and is literally slap bang between King's Cross and St. Pancras stations (so convenient for out-of-towners like me): German Gymnasium. I've tried and reviewed so many different brunch places by now, something for me always needs to make a place stand out, even if everything else is on point. But sometimes, it is places like these where you just want a guarantee that you'll be able to find everything you're after on a Sunday morning to relax with friends that make for a really great weekend. This is one of these 'you can get everything comforting and familiar, but it will still never disappoint' places.
Everything is housed under the beautiful high beamed ceilings of what used to be England's first ever custom build gym (so I was informed by one of my dining companions, hence the name), and you can choose to sit in the restaurant upstairs on the mezzanine floor (where there is a more rigid brunch menu rather than the big open choice downstairs), or down in the cafe where we booked our table. The space is beautiful, elegant, and is not too loud for a good catch up and read of the Sunday papers (especially when someone at the table wrote some of the Sunday papers and you all want to hear the background of the feature!)
Shall we start with the drinks? The full menu is available at brunch, so you can have tea or various coffees, fresh orange juice as one of us did, be like me and order the bellinis, or go for the standard cocktails. Shall we start with these pretty bellinis? How lovely do they look, brought to the table (by the excellent serving staff) in layers of their various parts, beautifully garnished and with a stirrer so you can swirl it around yourself? My original plan was to try each one on the menu after falling in love with the exceptionally balanced, pitch perfect White Peach and Elderflower number, but once I found that the Raspberry and Limocello was the lesser (but still lovely) of the two, I reverted to the twist on a classic. The third drink we have here is 'The Senator' (chosen really for its name, you can take former political staffers out of Westminster...), which I can't quite remember the ingredients of, but I know was hard, slightly fruity, with a smoking cinnamon stick.
There are two things you need to know about brunch food at German Gymnasium: it is all very German (or inspired by Vienna, Austria and other countries in that part of the world), and there are only really 'classic' breakfast options, if you're not one for moving into lunchtime territory at brunch. I was perfectly happy to go over to the mains, and was on the fence between the German Gymnasium Hot Dog (marjoram spiked pork sausage, coleslaw, house sauce, and crisp onions in a brioche roll), and the Vienna Schnitzel, which I ended up ordering (it is one of my all time favourite dishes, and the only time I really get it made with veal is when I have to go to the effort of making it myself!), and came to the table bigger than my head. The meat was beautiful, crisp and moist, and came with a lovely lingonberry compote, and the most wonderful warm potato salad that I wish I'd had more of. Seriously, it was so addictive.
My more traditional companions had the German Gymnasium Breakfast: two eggs (fried or scrambled), grilled Nurnberger sausages, crispy bacon a grilled tomato and a potato rosti, with a mountain of toast to share. They both polished off their breakfasts rather quickly, so I think they were as good as they looked! A standard croissant they also do a gianduja version) was also ordered, and looking around at other tables, the chia pots, and potato rosti versions of Eggs Benedict and Eggs Royal were also popular.
I've seen lots of new readers popping up here over the past month or so, so for those of you who don't yet know your way around you can find all of my London restaurant reviews here. For those of you in my neck of the woods, I have a Canterbury section here, and if you happen to be on the West Coast, a L.A. section here.