For me having Afternoon Tea is a quintessentially British thing to do. And something I do like to indulge in every now and then.
But how about fusing the traditional Afternoon Tea with the German tradition of coffee and cake at 4pm? Well why not… merging British and German has worked well for me all my life (it basically is the story of my life, being half British and half German).
I’ve been meaning to go and try out the German Gymnasium for quite some time now, but somehow never quite gotten round to it. So when a friend recently visited London, it was a good enough excuse for us to have a girly catch up over tea and cake and finally give that Afternoon Tea experience a try.
In the past the German Gymnasium offered two types of Tea Time, a German version and an Austrian version. However it seems they no longer do the Austrian one (or maybe it was just a temporary offer, I am not quite sure). So the German version it was then.
The German Gymnasium is located in-between King’s Cross station and St. Pancras station and blends in well with the recent refurbishment and upgrade of the entire area. It was originally built as a gymnasium (hence the name) in the 1860s, apparently the first purpose built gym in England.
In 2015 it was refurbished by Conran and Partners and opened as a restaurant and bar.
(OK, before we continue, let me make one thing clear here. This is not a sponsored post. I did pay for my afternoon tea. Doesn’t stop me from sharing my experience with you though.)
As with any Afternoon Tea, we’ve started out with the savoury selection.
Instead of the traditional sandwiches, we had bread rolls:
- black forest ham, obatzda ( a Bavarian cheese spread) and gherkins
- Egg mayonnaise and mustard cress
- Atlantic shrimp (this one I didn’t have, I swapped it for the one with avocado, chilli, lemon and coriander from the vegetarian menu)
Followed by the sweet selection:
- Gooseberry meringue tart
- Lübecker Nusstorte
- Apple strudel with vanilla sauce
There is a gluten free & vegetarian option available for those that have dietary requirements.
I must say, the food was rather tasty and (as with any Afternoon Tea) certainly quite filling. And at £18.50 it came at a good price (Afternoon Tea at one of the 5 star hotels can easily set you back £35-50 / head).
Would I say it was particularly German? I am a little undecided on that. The Nusstorte and Apple Strudel maybe yes. And the bread rolls were good (one thing Germans sure know how to do is bread, no comparison with the soft white bread rolls you get in the UK). But for the egg + cress and shrimp fillings, they weren’t particularly German for me. I would have preferred something a little more traditional (not saying they weren’t tasty, don’t get me wrong).
Overall we did enjoy the afternoon here. The restaurant is stunning, the service was good (or at least it started out well, eventually our waiter finished his shift and we were kind of abandoned towards the end of our sitting). And it is quite refreshing to see a German restaurant that doesn’t try and sell the stereotype of Bavarian beer and Lederhosen as the only German tradition (well it did that day, but only because the Oktoberfest started in Munich, so I can forgive them for that.
Will I come back? Probably yes. Maybe not for Afternoon Tea, but for proper dinner.
Let’s see, I’ll keep you posted if and when I do return.