The big burly brother of our delicate green goddess is a treat Nick that likes to savour every spring

I don’t like the word ‘gymnasium’ . It reminds me of ‘gym’, the class at school I was determined to swerve every week. My forgery of my parents’ letters, sorrowfully explaining why Nicholas could not take part, was masterly. So good that other boys soon asked me to write some for them too.

I hated everything about the gym;  the semi-sadistic PE teachers, the older and bigger boys, and the ritual humiliation of being unable to ascend the hairy rope and instead hanging, like a sad ape, a few feet off the ground whilst being laughed at.

Gosh Doctor, I am glad I got that off my chest!

Anyway now I am a big boy, I still won’t go to the gym, but I will go to German Gymnasium again.

What a space it is. The vaulted ceiling is gorgeous, the atmosphere very like the grand Mittle European cafes. A sense of history, of relaxed enjoyment, of people knowing their job and doing it very well. 

These kinds of places are not often found in the UK, it’s not our kind of thing sadly, but the GG is a wonderful one-off. Created from an actual ex German Gymnasium in London’s St Pancras, where visitors step off the Eurostar, it’s part of a vibrant, exciting, area that is the polar opposite of Gare Du Nord at the other end of the tunnel which is, to not to put too fine a point on it, a complete merde hole.

Arriving at St Pancras from Paris or Brussels, and diving into the German Gymnasium, the foreign visitor would immediately feel here was European civilisation. We pop up from the tube and think so too. It’s busy, not just lunchtime-busy but all day busy. We head upstairs to the gallery that runs around the walls and look down, literall, at all the happy people.

We have come for the special asparagus menu. Not the slim green exercise dodgers and sick note writers of England, but the engorged and priapic Arnold Schwarzeneggers, the white asparagus beloved by mainland Europe.

White asparagus, weißer spargel,  gets its bloodless appearance because it’s picked before it breaks the surface. Not being exposed to sunlight means it’s sweeter and more tender than our green variety.

The tough outer layer of white asparagus has to be peeled away by hand before it’s steamed, roasted or sautéed and with a short season, (from mid-April to late June) it’s a bit of a luxury

The asparagus menu in the upstairs restaurant, by Executive Chef, Alex Thiel, is a real tribute to the superstalk. We kicked off with Spargel creme suppe,  white asparagus soup, remarkably creamy and subtle and enlivened by snippings of chives.

I rarely eat soup in restaurants but this was well worth the exception, my only criticism being that the soup was so searingly hot that I was still carefully paddling around the edges when my wife had almost finished her Spargel salat,  an asparagus salad of white and green spears, fennel, dried tomatoes, radish, lamb’s lettuce and sweet green peas, wild garlic and a mustard dressing.

The asparagus mains are very similar, what changes is the protein – house cured salmon, chicken schnitzel or Black Forest ham. With all three comes Hollandaise sauce and boiled potatoes.

The asparaguses (asparagi?) are big, very big, but any fear they would be equally tough quickly disappears. They are beautifully tender from tip to butt, in fact you could cut them with a spoon. So sweet as well, dipping them in the hollandaise makes them extra luxurious.

The potatoes are delicious, I don’t know what makes them so, it must be the variety. The ham is just a bit too smokey for me, but the schnitzel is a tasty blast from the past. It’s all quite filling in a good way, this is after all German food and it’s not known for its lightness.

Nor its tendency to leave you hungry. Finishing off a great wine suggestion, xxx, we eye up desserts with some lack of keeness but who can resist apple strudel? P can’t and is soon crackling happily through layers of lovely flaky pastry and loving the cinnamon lavishly mixed with the apples.

I have a comfortingly sweet rice pudding, with a contrasting sour cherry compote. Very nice indeed, except like the soup it’s served hot enough to melt steel, so I  go at it very, very slowly but I still manage to burn my mouth.

That aside, the asparagus menu is excellent. The season is short, when it’s gone it’s gone, so get down to the gym as fast as you can and give your teeth some very gentle exercise.

Opening Times:

Monday – Wednesday: 8am-12am / Kitchen: 8am-10pm

Thursday – Friday: 8am-1am / Kitchen: 8am-10pm

Saturday: 10am-1am / Kitchen: 10am-10pm

Sunday: 10am-11pm / Kitchen: 10am-9pm

To Book:


German Gymnasium

1 King’s Blvd,