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Booking Office 1869 in King's Cross is now open

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Booking Office 1869 is now open, offering an exciting new drinking and dining destination in the heart of King's Cross. The bar and restaurant is open from 4pm on Tuesdays through to Saturdays, complete with late license and resident DJs.

The significant opening marks the 10 year anniversary of St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel which, under the stewardship of Harry Handelsman, bravely led the redevelopment of King’s Cross with the building sitting at the heart of this thriving London neighbourhood. A reimagining of the original, 19th century St. Pancras ticket hall, the venue replaces the previous Booking Office bar and restaurant, with the revised name a nod towards the year the original room was built.

The meticulous redesign has been overseen by acclaimed Parisian architect and designer Hugo Toro, who has worked alongside owner and renowned hotelier Harry Handelsman (Chiltern Firehouse, The Stratford), to create a design which brings the room to life by blending old and new influences. Booking Office 1869 is the first UK-commission for Hugo, who has previously led the design for restaurants in France including La Scène, Perruche and GiGi de Ramatuelle. Working collaboratively with Harry, Hugo was hugely influenced by the strong patterns and colours of the hotel’s iconic Grand Staircase, which in turn inspired him to create a Victorian-style Winter Garden, serving as a gateway to Europe through the use of lively and eccentric patterns, fabrics and features. 

The room, which can seat 120, is dominated by features including eight 8-metre tall palm trees and three pendant lights made up of 267 brass leaves each, along with a 22-metre long bar, which surrounds the original ticket office, all serving as key focal points. Seating, and complementary fabrics and patterns, are used creatively to divide the room and ensure an appropriate atmosphere where drinkers do not feel alienated by diners and diners feel comfortable to eat around guests enjoying a drink. Hugo has said “My overarching ambition was the introduction of a contemporary voice but one still connected to a past time; a visual dialogue with the space’s extraordinary heritage.”

Open until 12am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 1am Thursday through to Saturday, menus are overseen by Allegra's Patrick Powell (previously of Chiltern Firehouse and Wild Honey) who has curated a menu designed to highlight classic dishes finished with a modern twist. Accompanying the menu is a live Raw Bar serving both market oysters and sashimi-style tuna skewers.  The menu not only features some more traditional main courses but a variety of snacks and starters, which guests are encouraged to order for a more sharing-style experience.

Signature snacks and starters include Fried chicken, yoghurt & lime, Hand chopped steak tartare with salsa verde & beef dripping toast and Barbequed carrots, braised grains, yoghurt, pistachio & dukkah. For mains there are choices such as a Fried fish sandwich with spicy tartar sauce, Baked gnocchi, taleggio, bitter leaf salad & pickled walnut and slow roasted lamb shoulder cooked in chermoula spices for two to share. Desserts comprise a Brioche donut with caramelised apple & burnt cinnamon cream as well as the nostalgia-inducing Blackberry trifle.

The drinks offering is equally considered, with Bar Manager Jack Porter (formerly The Mezzanine at The Stratford and Library Bar at The Ned) designing a menu available until late which draws heavily on the heritage of the building, celebrating the Victorians' achievements and values, with a focus on elegance, purity and flavour.

The cocktail list emphasises the idea of combining the old with the new and is divided into two parts; Refined Classics see modern techniques used to accelerate the ageing processes, whilst still maintaining a complexity and depth of flavour and include a House Martini (Hepple Gin, Dry Vermouth, Organic Beeswax, Black Olive) and a Clear Margarita (House Blend of Tapatio & Ilegal Joven, Citrus, Salt). The second part is made up of Signature serves, a selection of cocktails incorporating Victorian materials and served in a modern yet pared back style, with drinks such as Victoria Sour (Barsol Pisco, Long Pepper Spice, Plum Syrup)and Ol’ Signalman (Pecan Nut Infused Bourbon, Cocchi Rosa, Coconut Bitters). A tea-inspired non-alcoholic range is also available, alongside a premium selection of Champagnes, wines and spirits.

The neighbourhood's affiliation with the music industry is long-standing and so the bar & restaurant's new live DJ series 'Last Call' is a natural introduction to Booking Office 1869's continued recognition of the area's heritage. Rounding off the week and into the weekend, it will be welcoming an outstanding role call of DJs every Thursday (December only), Friday and Saturday night between 9pm - 1am. The perfect accompaniment to that final Clear Margarita (or two!).
 
Following on from the launch of Booking Office 1869 will be the opening of the Roof Garden. The embodiment of a hidden al fresco garden, the Booking Office 1869 Roof Garden will serve a snack-style menu from its indoor counterpart and will offer seasonal activations with like-minded drinks partners, ensuring its relevance throughout the year. 

With St. Pancras International Station serving as a passport between London and the rest of Europe, the newly reimagined Booking Office 1869 embodies this charm through Hugo’s reinvigoration of the space, alongside the sophisticated yet understated food and cocktail menus created by Patrick and Jack respectively. 

Harry Handelsman comments “What King's Cross represents today is the perfect manifestation of the principles upon which I built my company nearly 30 years ago and despite the incredible challenges that came with the restoration of the Grade 1 listed St Pancras Chambers, I am proud of what I have accomplished with both St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel as well as the apartments above.  Following the consequent redevelopment of King's Cross over the next ten years, I felt now was the time for a new destination bar and restaurant in the city and in the creation of Booking Office 1869 in partnership with my friend and collaborator Hugo Toro, I firmly believe we have realised our ambition and I look forward to locals and visitors enjoying and engaging with what we have achieved.”

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