The King’s Cross area is scrubbing up nicely – so nicely that you need to look hard to find a discarded cardboard cup of builder’s tea. With the opening of this little outpost of a royalty-endorsed tea room inside St Pancras station, the gentrification is being buffed to a shine. Signature loose leaf teas, posh preserves and hamper goodies make a fetching display in the international terminal’s gift shop, while the café – a crown jewel of refined light bites – is the perfect setting in which to put the world to rights over the clink of fine china.
The all-day menu offers more promise of Anglo-French collaboration than the EU, with dishes including crumpets, coq au vin and fish pie. The ‘catch of the day’ was a big helping of coarsely flaked Dorset crabmeat cloaked in lemony mayonnaise, piled high over crisp lettuce and toast – a first-rate English seaside special. In contrast, our scotch egg contained overcooked egg and underseasoned sausagemeat, and was better suited to Nigel Farage’s school lunchbox than a dainty salon’s plate. Tally ho, though, for its accompaniment of sweetly spiced and lightly curried coronation mayonnaise.
The afternoon tea, although pricey, is a classic celebration, comprising warm scones, clotted cream, Victoria sponge and a brilliant range of pastries and renowned teas. Alongside the famed F&M blends are single-estate brews. A second-flush Jungpana Darjeeling transported us from the concourse of St Pancras to the parsley-green cricket pitches of the shires. Jungpana’s a fabulous tea from a tiny Indian estate, and the floral flavour makes a jolly good match with cucumber sandwiches. If Farage and Clegg were to have their in-out debates over a pot of this stuff, we’d undoubtedly have the European question agreed before second pour.