German Gymnasium, King’s Cross

King’s Cross has become a hotspot for brunch addicts with Caravan and Granger & Co setting up branches, and now we welcome German Gymnasium to the team. This historic former gym has been given a new lease of life, with a grand dining room and German inspired menu.

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The sophisticated dining room is spacious and airy, a lovely place to enjoy a relaxed morning catching up with friends. We sat at a quiet window table, sipping milky cappuccinos and freshly squeezed juices. At night I imagine this great hall dazzles, with the high ceiling and magnificent decor.

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The breakfast menu is a mix of British brunch favourites (think avocado and poached eggs on toast) and less familiar German dishes. We encouraged each other to opt for the German specialities, and were pleasantly surprised. Puszta Pan is similar to Shakshuka or ratatouille, a mix of finely chopped courgette, tomato and onion with fried egg and goat’s cheese. It was a tasty and comforting dish, though it did remind me more of dinner recipe than breakfast. Half Croissant & Half Brezel was a decadent delight… Bacon & egg Brezsant with mustard and sauerkraut. To absolve our breakfast sins we also tucked into healthy greek yoghurt with granola and fresh grapefruit.

On a Monday morning, this European-style restaurant was almost empty and lacking in atmosphere, but I imagine at the weekend when locals and Eurostar travellers are stopping by, it feels rather more exciting and glamorous. Personally, I enjoyed sampling a brunch which strayed from the usual dishes and challenged my tastebuds with something new and delicious.

More information and book a table at German Gymnasium here.

Gunpowder, Spitalfields

The Indian food scene in London has transformed in recent years… I no longer find myself wandering down Brick Lane for a curry fix. Trishna, Kricket and Gymkhana are all brilliant, but I think Gunpowder has to be my current favourite modern Indian eatery in the city.


The tiny restaurant in Spitalfields is a hotspot for business people working nearby. I nestled in amongst the hungry locals for a delicious lunch last week. I had popped in to Gunpowder a few times before but, unaware of the cult dishes on the menu, had missed out on tasting the Spicy venison doughnut, which, I can now confirm, deserves its legendary status. The rich minced meat is highly seasoned with a mix of spices and concealed within crispy vermicelli casing. We also loved snacking on the Karwari soft shell crab, a devilishly decadent battered crab topped with a vibrant marinade of citrus and chilli.


The unmissable item on the menu, in my opinion, is the Maa’s kashmiri lamb chops. These grilled chops are coated in an irresistible marinade, soft and tender inside with a perfected chargrilled edge. For vegetarians there are plenty of great options too, from intensely flavoured Bhuna aubergine and crispy kale salad to the epic Sigree grilled mustard broccoli which sits in an aromatic creamy sauce.


The small desserts section on the menu regularly changes. Last week we tried Old monk rum pudding, a comforting take on a bread & butter pudding with raisins and custard. For something more indulgent, try the Dark chocolate mousse with banana parfait and pistachio chikki. The mousse was incredibly rich but complemented nicely by the nutty parfait.

I found myself drinking copious amounts of water to cope with the spicy dishes, but if you fancy something stronger order a Gunpowder Regiment or Bow Barracks Gimlet from the cocktail menu. The drinks are carefully constructed and well mixed.

Like many of the best venues in London, you can’t book a table at Gunpowder. But take my word for it, this is one restaurant really worth queuing for.

More information on Gunpowder here.

Alexandrie, Kensington

I am not sure I have ever (knowingly) eaten Egyptian food before. Recently I travelled to Kensington to try Alexandrie, a restaurant which has had a revamp and now offers a taste of Egypt in a glamorous dining room. Tucked away on Kensington Church Street, with barely a sign to indicate its whereabouts, it would be easy to walk straight past Alexandrie.


My grandparents and I sat in a lovely window table which I was pleased to find had plenty of natural light for my photographs. The small dining room was filled with neatly arranged white table-clothed tables, bright gaudy artworks and glitzy chandeliers, a strange mix of design features which made the eatery feel rather dated. There was only one other table occupied in the small restaurant which sadly meant the lack of atmosphere was rather obvious throughout our meal.

The quiet but helpful waiter handed out the lunch offer for the day, a very confusingly laid out list of vegan, vegetarian, fish and meat options, priced at £13.95 for two courses (+ £4.95 for additional dessert). We opted for a mix of the vegetable and meat dishes, so I could sample a range of the chef’s specialities.

To start we had a platter of Hummus, baba ganoush and aubergine salad which was pleasant but a little uninspiring. The soups however, were delicious. Cream of cauliflower was wonderfully smooth and creamy, with a sprinkle of fragrant spices and earthy truffle oil. Red Lentil soup was our favourite, a perfectly comforting winter dish, with a hint of lemon balm and lovely seasoning from the garlic croutons.


The main courses arrived very promptly… with so few people to serve I guess the chef was able to make the food very efficiently. These plates looked less appetising, especially the Chicken roulade, which tasted nice but looked a mess on the plate. Ratatouille with grilled halloumi was a simple dish ideal for vegetarians. The Lamb okra with saffron rice was the least successful, a dry meat dish cooked with sloppy pieces of okra which didn’t add any flavour.

To drink with our meal we chose a bottle of the 2013 Chene Bleu rose wine, which was a hit at our table. A lovely rose wine that was both delicate and balanced, it would complement any lunchtime meal.


Desserts were an education in Egyptian sweet recipes. Mehalabeya was a delicious, palate-cleansing milk pudding with crunchy candied pistachios on top. The second dessert, named Omali was extremely odd. It was described on the menu as a crisp filo pastry baked in a rich cream with a touch of vanilla, topped with baked almond flakes… but it didn’t really taste of any of those ingredients, apart from the toasted almonds, which were piled high on top. There was a lack of natural sweetness and the texture, under-baked pastry soaked in milk, was quite unappealing.

The lunch menu at Alexandrie is good value, the lack of atmosphere and hit-or-miss dishes left me wondering if this restaurant is more dependable for an evening meal.

More information and book a table at Alexandrie Restaurant here.