Following an early evening trip to “Coal Drops Yard”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/travel-product/attraction/196086-coal-drops-yard, Kings Cross to see the Christmas lights, we wanted to eat and chose the interestingly named “German Gymnasium”:https://www.germangymnasium.com/.
The building was designed by Edward Gruning and was England’s first purpose-built gymnasium, with funding coming solely from London’s German community. Built in 1865 for the German Gymnastics Society it hosted London’s first indoor Olympic Games, back in 1866.
Although there was a terrace where hardy souls from differing households were looking slightly chilly, we were able to eat inside what is a huge, cavernous restaurant. Arriving at 5pm, we were told we could have the table for 90 minutes so fortunately the service was excellent, attentive but not rushed.
There was a comprehensive “wine list”:https://www.germangymnasium.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/75/2020/07/Restaurant-A-la-carte-04.07-VN-PDF-wine-website.pdf with wines from Germany, Austria, eastern Europe and to a lesser extent, the rest of the world. Having fears of sweet German wine, I chose a Romanian Sauvignon Blanc as we’d had our holiday to Romania earlier in the year cancelled. It was very refreshing and good value at £24. The wine was kept in an ice bucket away from the table which I normally dislike, but our glasses were constantly refreshed but not overfilled. Glasses of tap water were similarly replenished.
The a la carte “menu”:https://www.germangymnasium.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/75/2020/11/Grand-Cafe-ALL-DAY-from-03.12.2020-NSZ.pdf was very sausage and schnitzel based although there are burgers and fish and chips. However, when in Rome and all that. I opted for a Giant Chilli Beef Dog which was a long sausage served in a brioche roll with coleslaw, pulled pork, a spicy curried tomato sauce and crispy onion rings which added texture. I was offered a side of chips, but was pleased I’d decided to be good, as it was a pretty substantial dish.
Roy was slightly more adventurous choosing Münchener Weißwurst, a poached pork and veal sausage with parsley, sweet mustard and Brezel (a quick Google search revealed this was a pretzel). The two sausages arrived in a cast iron pot filled with hot stock. The sausages were a little pale for my liking having been poached but were actually pretty tasty. The waitress helpfully pointed out that the skin could be eaten and was natural. The mustard was whole grain, with a touch of honey adding sweetness. The large pretzel was soft and went well with the sausages.
Later when I posted a photograph of the sausages on Facebook, my nephew who has lived in Germany for many years commented: Bavarian white sausages with a pretzel, delicious, hope the sweet mustard wasn’t missing. So, I guess they were pretty authentic.
Although I’m not normally a pudding person, I could easily have been tempted by the likes of Sachertorte, hazelnut chocolate mousse or Black Forest gateau. Instead, we chose to share marzipan stollen with our coffee (excellent strong Americano with hot milk). Roy also chose to have a glass of some kind of lethal cherry schnapps.
As well as the a la carte, there are several other menus including a set menu (two courses for £25), daily lunch specials for £15 and a brunch menu with unlimited fizz.
Covid-19 precautions were being followed in respect of track and trace, hand sanitising and spread-out tables. However, when we visited, London was in Tier 2 which meant no mixing of households indoors. It was clearly apparent that the vast majority of tables were disregarding this rule which prompted me to speak to the reception desk on leaving. I was told that if people said they were having business meetings, then it was not their position to challenge them. Unsurprisingly, I read on the tube on the way home, that London is likely to go into Tier 3 on 16 December.