At the end of our April London trip, Steve and I wanted afternoon tea before taking the Eurostar back to Belgium. As I read promising things about the German Gymnasium‘s Germanic take on this quintessential British activity at The Londonist, we booked a table well in advance for Sunday at 2PM.
I must also add I’ve alway been intrigued by the German Gymnasium since it opened late 2015. Turns out the premisses were the first purpose-built gym in the United Kingdom.
The Germanness was invented. But prior to World War I German restaurants, bakers and butchers were very common in London. Let’s not forget the royal family is actually German. George V changed the House’s name from Saxen-Coburg to Windsor in 1917.
Unfortunately 2PM turns out to be too early for afternoon tea. Contrary to Jay Rayner from The Guardian, we booked a table downstairs in the Grand Café area. As we couldn’t get afternoon tea, we had a late lunch.
We looked for German dishes on the menu. There are some, but they don’t make up the majority of options. I guess the same is true with Belgo at Crowne Plaza Kings Cross and Belgian dishes.
Steve had a salad – I don’t remember which – and I settled for Schupfnudeln & young vegetables for £19.50. I tasted nice and felt German enough. But compared to what I saw on other plates at other tables, the portion wasn’t teutonic.
As dessert we looked for more Germanness. I had a forêt noire (black forrest) chocolate cake and Steve had Sachertorte. That’s actually Austrian but ok… They tasted nice enough.
“Nice enough” sums up our experience at the German Cymnasium’s Grand Café. But next time I really want to try the Germanic afternoon tea.
Good to know: book well in advance and there’s storage space for your luggage.