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13 July 2011
Ironically you cannot book a table at the Booking Office. Luckily for us we arrived and there were just a handful of other diners/drinkers.
There were 4 of us stopping by for a late lunch. The hotel entrance is the epitome of grand and we were greeted very politely by half a dozen hotel staff before getting to the Booking Office itself.
The design is clearly geared towards feeling like a bar and succeeds in this, the tables are at a variety of heights, some with arm chairs, some with stools and some with couches.
The room felt very empty, despite their being other guests. I think this is down to the enormously high ceilings and the scale of the room itself. This makes you feel quite small, but the service was excellent and very attentive. I feel sorry for the waiting staff who probably cover a fair few miles from one end of the bar to the other every day.
The menu has some excellent options for a casual lunch, all with very good ingredients to elevate to a luxury hotel standard. Between us we had the burger, Caesar salad and fishcakes.
We were all quite let down though because the food that arrived was not at all special. The Caesar salad had just 4 pieces of anchovy and the croutons could have been brought in. The burger which arrived did not reflect the price and was no better than a good gastro pub burger. All dishes were cooked well and tasted good, but were not as special as the surroundings hint they might be.
We were quite happy with the desserts we received, but again these were straight forward hotel bar menu desserts.
I was by no means expecting a fine dining extravagance, but the location, menu description and price suggested that the food would be better. Maybe the price reflects the location not the food.
I would recommend any body who is in the area to visit the Booking Office, but do not expect anything other than a good bite to eat and a slice of wonderful architecture. The overall package is probably the best in the proximity of the station because the other options are branded restaurants.
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