A triple win for German Gymnasium
Located within a former Grade II listed gymnasium in King’s Cross, the unusually named German Gymnasium is a stunning, 447-cover complex, which boasts a ground floor grand café, an outdoor terrace, a restaurant, bars and private dining spaces. Originally constructed for the German Gymnastics Society, the building was the birth-place of the National Olympian Association and held the indoor events for the first games in 1866.
Designed by Edward Gruning, the building was England’s first purpose-built gymnasium, with funding coming solely from London’s German community. The beautiful building ceased to be used as a gymnasium pre-war and was subsequently used as offices, storage and an arts and exhibition space, before becoming a hospitality hotspot.
Since opening, the restaurant has gone from strength-to-strength and more recently has become the proud winner of three very prestigious awards at this year’s Restaurant & Bar Design Awards. Now in its eighth year, the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards is a globally recognised competition dedicated to the design of food and beverage spaces.
The awards ceremony – which took place on 29th September 2016 at the Old Truman Brewery, London – saw German Gymnasium awarded ‘Best UK Restaurant’ and ‘Best Restaurant or Bar in a Heritage Building’. German Gymnasium also picked up the crowning glory of ‘Best Overall Restaurant’ – a fantastic achievement!
D&D London acquired the German Gymnasium site in January 2014, and after extensive planning, restoration, design and construction, the venue opened in November 2015. D&D owns and operates more than 30 establishments in the U.K., France, the U.S., and Japan, with restaurants in London including Kensington Place, Launceston Place and Quaglino’s, amongst others.
The interior of German Gymnasium was designed by Conran and Partners, whilst 3Interiors were the main contractors. The décor of German Gymnasium boasts a contemporary take on the grand cafes and brasseries of central Europe.
Influenced by the building’s original purpose, playful gymnasium details filter through the overall design of German Gymnasium. Gold mesh screens inspired by Victorian detailing and fencing masks are featured, while original fixtures such as climbing hooks have been retained in the ceiling of the awe-inspiring triple height space.
The open pass and windows overlooking the street invite commuters and diners to view the grand main kitchen, completely rendered in black, above which sits a separate kitchen serving the upper dining area, which has a dramatic double-height mirrored glass façade.
Des Gunewardena, Chairman and CEO of D&D London said: “We’ve watched and admired King’s Cross coming to life in recent years and were so excited to finally become part of it. When I first saw the German Gymnasium building stripped out, revealing the interior with its 57 ft floor-to-ceiling heights, I had the same spine tingling feeling I had when I first saw Quaglino’s as a hole in the ground 25 years ago. We love this building and its history.”
The finest European cuisine is available for lunch and dinner in the first floor restaurant at German Gymnasium. Starters include lamb‘s lettuce with crisp bacon, pumpkin seeds, potato dressing and truffled beef broth with liver dumplings and shaved black truffle, while main courses include the likes of seared scallops and mettwurst with Granny Smith, pistachio, butternut squash and saffron potato.
The Grand Café on the ground floor offers all day dining, with a modern European menu, including German classics and a comprehensive grill selection. Signature dishes are also available.
The patisserie counter showcases freshly baked breads and pastries, including sour cherry and pistachio buns or Berlin Doughnuts with jam, all available to take away. Further breakfast treats include the potato rösti with fried eggs and The GG Breakfast – a full English with a German twist!
In a novel inclusion, a clock chimes at 4pm daily, signalling the beginning of the German tradition of Kaffee and Kuchen. Guests are offered cakes and pastries and are able to choose from speciality coffees such as the Black Forest coffee with Kirsch and whipped cream and the Pharisäer coffee with dark Jamaican rum.
David Loewi, Managing Director of D&D London commented: “While developing the food and drink concepts, we respected the history of the site. Germany is well established for its wine, yet its cuisine is often underrepresented in London. We aim to help change this by featuring some delicious dishes from Germany and its surrounding countries.”
To round off the offering at German Gymnasium, the venue’s Head Sommelier, serves up a wine list that takes wine lovers on a virtual tasting tour along the Danube vineyards showcasing niche German, Austrian and Hungarian labels, as well as a selection of bottles from Eastern Europe. Guests can sample the regional sparkling wine, Sekt, as well as German wine flights, and a wide range of speciality wines by the glass via the Coravin Wine System.
For more information about German Gymnasium, please visit: www.germangymnasium.com.
Surfaceform specialise in the design and creation of high quality bespoke wall finishes for use within commercial interiors. The company has been in operation since 2003 and within this time have worked with many prestigious names, including Selfridges, Jimmy Choo, Harrods, Twitter, Charlotte Tilbury, BP and Marks & Spencer’s amongst others.
Surfaceform were involved in the project with German Gymnasium after being approached by Conran to create a bespoke textured plaster finish that would complement the beautiful surrounds of the restaurant. The finish was a bespoke concrete, in Ammonite, which was designed specifically so the lighting highlighted the unique texture.
After completion of the project, Aaron McKeown, company director said:
“We were delighted to have been involved in this impressive project as we felt the style of the surroundings would complement our plaster finishes. Working with Conran and 3 Interiors was a pleasure. We take great pride in our ability to offer a diverse range of surface finishes using traditional and new processes to deliver the latest ideas. All surfaces can be tailored to individual needs.”
On the announcement of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2016, Surfaceform were delighted to hear German Gymnasium had been awarded ‘Best Overall Restaurant’ and ‘Best UK Restaurant’. Aaron said: “The awards received are a testament to all who were involved in the project, as a result the quality of finish and craftsmanship was second to none.”
3 Interiors have been in operation since 2010 and offer unparalleled service in high end interior fit outs. Their team is ready to design an elegant solution to any interior or refurbishment project no matter the size. With a meticulous eye for detail, superior craftsmanship and experience, 3 Interiors provide fit out and refurbishment solutions that exceed expectations.
Previous work has included various restaurants owned by D and D London including Avenue, Quaglinos and Le Pont De La Tour. The company recently worked as the main contractor for the London restaurant, German Gymnasium.
Ian Robinson, Commercial Director of 3 Interiors, commented:
“We felt it was important to win this project as it was an iconic building in the middle of a Kings Cross redevelopment project. We knew that this was going to be a special restaurant.”
“We pride ourselves on delivering a high end product for our client along with keeping with the timescales and budgets. At 3 Interiors we always take the time to build lasting relationships with clients and it is a testament to the passion we have for our work that they want to forge that relationship with us.”
Innovative designs in glass
Glass Designs is a third-generation company specialising in the manufacture, supply and installation of bespoke flat glass to the UK. Based in Greenwich, the company primarily work within the leisure, retail and high-end residential sectors, but are more than capable of tackling any project that comes their way.
In addition to manufacturing flat glass, Glass Designs provides a wide range of bespoke glass products, including frameless showers, bespoke mirrors, glazed screens, glass wall cladding, coloured glass worktops, glass flooring and decking and UV bonded furniture & display cabinets.
Glass Designs has worked on many prestigious projects including The Press nightclub and numerous high specification shower enclosures.
Glass Designs manufactured and installed a range of tinted and silver mirrors to the German Gym Restaurant within the King Cross development. Mirrors were installed on three floors around the bar area and up into the ceiling void, giving a stunning effect to the overall look of the refurbishment.
“At Glass Designs we pride ourselves on being expert, third generation manufacturer/processors. We manufacture our products within the UK and this works perfectly alongside our supply and installation service.”