Marcus Wareing Restaurants have played a major role in the transformation of King’s Cross – and there’s plenty more on the menu, Mark Kebble discovers, as he celebrates The Gilbert Scott turning three.
It doesn’t matter how many times I walk around St Pancras, the architecture never fails to send a tingle down my spine. I can’t imagine for one second what it’s like to actually work here on a day to day basis. ‘It’s stunning,’ affirms Chantelle Nicholson, The Gilbert Scott’s General Manager. ‘We’ve been here three years and it does not lose its appeal at all. Every day we pinch ourselves and we do feel very privileged to be here.’
It’s a busy time for Chantelle and the team at Marcus Wareing Restaurants. They have just re-launched at The Berkeley in Central London as Marcus, and as mentioned The Gilbert Scott has just celebrated its anniversary. ‘Even in the short time since we arrived there’s been a huge transformation,’ Chantelle says on their three years in North London. ‘There is such a buzz in this community. What I really like about it is the passion the community has for what’s coming, you don’t really find that anywhere else in London. Everybody is excited and energised about it.’
It certainly helps having The Gilbert Scott on your doorstep. Housed within St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, it’s part of a travel experience like no other – once this area was all about boarding a train to come into work and then to head home, now it’s all about what to do pre- and post-travel. As such, The Gilbert Scott’s clientele is diverse and something they have always taken to heart. ‘It will be an experience here,’ Chantelle says, ‘but we also want it to be what guests want it to be. If they just want to have a quiet coffee, it’s a great space for them, but if we have got someone in who has international friends over and they want to show off, then we can fit the bill. We don’t want it to be a fine dining place, where you only come once a year – we want to be a neighbourhood restaurant.’
It helps when the food they offer is consistently of the highest order. ‘We rely quite heavily on our suppliers,’ Chantelle says on creating their menus. ‘We have a beef supplier from the Lake District who we have used ever since we’ve opened and they keep us informed on what’s new. Working closely with suppliers is the big inspiration for us. It’s also about listening to what customers want – if they are saying they want something lighter, such as hotel guests coming in at 10.30pm, then we can offer that. It’s a combination of the chefs’ passion, the suppliers and the customer’s wishes.’
With a third birthday to celebrate, The Gilbert Scott has unveiled a new spring/summer menu to tantalise the tastebuds. ‘That has a lighter feel to it,’ Chantelle references her previous point. ‘We have added a new section to the menu, seasonal salads, which I think is really important. If you are a business person coming out for lunch a couple of times a week, you don’t want to be constantly eating heavy foods. People are more aware of what’s going into their body – but that’s not to say we won’t have treats because that’s what we are about!’
This is one story that’s ready to roll on, but just as The Gilbert Scott has played a major role in the King’s Cross regeneration, Marcus and Chantelle have their sights set on another part of London now too. ‘We are really excited about it,’ Chantelle enthuses about their next restaurant, Tredwell’s. ‘It’s going to be a casual dining offer. We have spoken about community and, interestingly, Seven Dials where it’s located has a similar feel to it. If you look at what they have done with that estate in the past ten years, the developers are very intent on it being niche and bespoke, so it becomes a sense of interest and not just a mass market area. There’s that same feeling here.’ If Tredwell’s replicates half of the atmosphere and awe felt at The Gilbert Scott, then it will be a very special place indeed.
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road NW1 2AR; 020 7278 3888; thegilbertscott.co.uk