Review: The Betjeman Arms, King's Cross
Style Points: 4/5
Tucked away in a corner of St Pancras station is a restaurant and pub called The Betjeman Arms. In fact, located right by the giant statue of the lovers The Betjeman Arms is not just a pub but an absolutely massive venue with about four distinct areas. There's a terrace outside, the bar, a seating/dining area and then an actual dining room with waiter service.
We went on a weekday for an early dinner and all areas were buzzing. Many tourists and travellers on their way to different cities and countries and obviously some regulars drinking at the bar. The restaurant dining room at the back was definitely the quietest of the sections but most of the tables were occupied while we were there.
You could tell it was quite an old part of the station/hotel with its beautiful tall ceilings and windows and the decor was a mishmash of old, modern and just plain random. Even though it wasn't particularly historic, it still worked with the beautiful architecture of the station.
Would I Want Seconds?
After having a look at the menu it was pretty clear it the food at The Betjman Arms was traditional pub fair with a few fancy twists thrown in. As a starter I chose the chicory, stilton and walnut salad (£6.95) which included walnuts, dried cranberries and a strong stilton cheese. It's a combination I've seen before and it was perfectly fine. I'm always a bit disappointed by 'real' salads that use healthy greens because I feel like I'm eating weeds - but putting that aside it was a good salad and a nice size for a starter, not too filling but not tiny.
My dining companion chose the salmon and crab fish cake (£8.50) which is certainly not healthier than my choice but was so much tastier. It had a perfectly breaded exterior and tasted divine. I admit I split the sample he gave me and saved half for when I finished my salad!
For our mains we chose fairly classic dishes. I chose the spicy chicken schnitzel burger (£13.95). I have to admit I was hoping for a classic juicy, spicy chicken burger but it wasn't the same. Despite the edges being a bit burnt for my tastes and a lack of spice, it was lovely and juicy on the inside and after adding a bit of mayo it helped to satisfy my cravings.
My dining companion on the other hand opted for the sausage and mash (£11.95). It was a pretty traditional dish. The sausage portion was huge and the potatoes were tasty. I know the dish is sausage and mash and that's what you get...but it just felt like it was missing something else like a side of vegetables or similar. It is quite an affordable option so I guess you could select one of their sides yourself.
Then it was time for pudding we tried the white chocolate pannacotta with drunken cherries and honeycomb (£6.50) and the chocolate praline layer cake (£6.75). It was heavenly. So rich and decadent. I have to admit that it defeated me, I actually left some of the praline on the plate (don't worry I finished the fudgeiest layers). That's how rich it was...I actually left some. I was also pretty full to be fair, and definitely didn't leave any cake for lack of taste!
Could I Afford Seconds?
In terms of price, The Betjeman Arms was pretty fair. Maybe slightly on the inflated side for a pub atmosphere but considering the table service and the location I thought the quality of food was really good for the price point.
I enjoyed my meal and the atmosphere. You could easily have a two course meal for around £20 plus drinks and if you're dining with a date or friend and one orders a starter and the other a dessert then your have a pretty decent value meal on your hands. I especially recommend this if you both want the chocolate cake - trust me it's rich enough that you'll be happy to split it.
I would definitely recommend The Betjeman Arms if you're in the area (maybe a lovely stop for a last British meal before hopping on the Eurostar to Paris perhaps?). I'm not sure I would particularly travel for it as although the food was very tasty it wasn't particularly unique or too different from the norm. Bonus for those travelling, the service was reasonably quick so you're unlikely to miss your train by dining here!
The Betjeman Arms website
Address: 53, St Pancras International Station, London N1C 4QL
Tube Station: Kings Cross St. Pancras
Reviewed by guest writer A Yank In Blighty