This year for our birthdays, Stew and I decided to treat each other to our two favourite things – exploring London and FOOD! We dined at Duck & Waffle for Stew’s birthday, and German Gymnasium for mine.
German Gymnasium, based in King’s Cross, is part of D&D London – an international group of restaurants, bars and one hotel – and was once upon a time an gymnasium! Designed by Edward Gruning, the building was England’s first purpose-built gymnasium. It was funded solely by London’s German community and was built in 1865 for the German Gymnastics Society. It went on to host the indoor events for London’s first Olympic Games in 1866! Pretty impressive huh?!
Making full use of this grand space, German Gymnasium have built a large open plan café and bar downstairs, with a restaurant upstairs overlooking it.
With a menu boasting central European cuisine, you can dine here for breakfast lunch or dinner. The dinner menu boasts burgers, hot dogs, and schnitzels, plus soups, oysters and salads. The food is eloquent and well thought out. Burgers and hot dogs are not as you may think. For example choose between poached pork and veal sausage, or a veal schnitzel. The dishes here may sound average, but the ingredients certainly aren’t!
Sadly the menu experienced is no longer available online, and I’m struggling to remember exactly what was in each dish. However, hopefully the photos alone will give a good indication to the quality of foods used. The salad in particular, pictured above, was absolutely exquisite. It look as though an artists had made it, with each piece of pickle, carefully cut and placed on the plate. If any of you watched Great British Menu this year, the fare at German Gymnasium reminded us of many dishes the contestants made.
For mains Stew chose the veal schnitzel, with warm potatoes and vegetables. Whilst I chose the lamb cutlets, on a bed of spinach and truffle risotto, with fennel and baby leeks.
Personally I think my main was the star of the show! The lamb was beautifully tender, and the flavours in the risotto were stunning. I’d never thought to put lamb and risotto together in this way before, but boy did it work! It made a nice change to mash.
For dessert, Stew (and our waitress) very kindly ordered me a birthday special – a piece of chocolate cake with ‘Happy Birthday Kim’ carefully drizzled on the plate in melted chocolate. Complete with candle and edible flowers! Stew ordered the strudel for himself, and it was incredible! I’d highly recommend it if you go. In fact, we ended up doing a swap and he ate my birthday cake!
It was a lovely evening. We couldn’t fault the service and the surroundings. The food and drinks were delicious, but the menu is very expensive. Starters range from £8 – £23, whilst mains average around £20 – £30, plus sides. When comparing it to Duck & Waffle, it didn’t win on food, price or experience. However, if you love fine dining, I would recommend German Gymnasium for it’s grandeur and it’s ideal location. Plus you don’t have to book months in advance, like you do at Duck & Waffle. I’ve heard that breakfast is very good at German Gymnasium and I’d love to go back for cocktails with the girls in the bar, as actually I think the atmosphere would be better in the cafe and bar. The restaurant is a little quiet and secluded.
German Gymnasium: 4/5
- Beautiful restaurant
- Lovely back story
- Incredible food & drink
- Impeccable service
- Very pricey – much more so than Duck & Waffle, and when comparing the two, we preferred the food and atmosphere of the latter