RAILS Restaurant and Little Bar

Last Updated on January 19, 2023

French style restaurant serving classic brasserie

RAILS Restaurant and Little Bar is a restaurant with the apt name located directly across the street from St Pancras International station. It’s tempting to take the train to Paris after lunch, but for those without a ticket, RAILS provides a taste of France without needing to take out a passport. Part of the Great Northern Hotel – and formerly known as Plum + Spilled Milk – RAILS is a restaurant and, as the name suggests, a lovely bar where you can easily spend hours dreaming of the ride.

RAILS restaurant and small bar

We were blowing in from the North Line on a very windy night, desperately in need of shelter from the January blues and inhospitable weather. Up the stairs, RAILS is an elegant room plus a bar that immediately makes us feel comfortable. Friendly staff plus a welcoming atmosphere – tables well spaced and lots of fun chat filling the room – suggest a relaxed evening ahead. The well-proportioned room has large sash windows on three sides which should provide excellent light during the day. In the evening it is lit up with a beautiful set of contemporary chandeliers. Dark gray walls and ceiling contrast with the shutters and wooden floors. Leather benches line the walls and marble-topped tables – some oval, some square – fill the room. The original artwork on the walls gives this contemporary yet traditional space a boost of color.

rail interiors

One can sit at the friendly bijoux bar but we chose to order alcoholic drinks at our table. There is a nice list of cocktails, mocktails and sparkling wines. While we peruse the menu, I sip on the Walnut Kir Royale – a twist on the famous cocktail with walnut bitters balancing the sweetness of the crème de cassis. My partner tried the Bramble – Citadelle gin, Lemon, crème de mure liqueur.

RAIL cocktails

The RAILS menu is short and filled with French bistro favorites. The main course is meat although there are several fish options, two vegetarian and one vegan starter, and one vegan main course. The meal got off to a satisfying start from the starter menu. I chose the smoked Chalkstream trout and kohlrabi salad. This colorful dish features generous portions of fish – lightly smoked and delicious – and is topped with a fresh, crunchy, lightly dressed kohlrabi salad. There was plenty of fish to share but I managed it myself.


My partner enjoyed the St Marcellin which was baked with honey truffles. A plate of grilled cheese, toast, a small pot of honey truffles and a green leaf salad garnish is perfect for cheese lovers, especially the St Marcellin which has deep flavor and silky texture.


From the impressive wine list – strong on French wines as expected but with international representation as well – I enjoyed a glass of Albariño ‘Sentidino’ Rías Baixas, Bodegas Gallegas, Galicia, 2021, This is a lovely pairing with toasted lemon sole served with hollandaise sauce. The French bean side dish is served with shallots and is very good. My partner – the carnivore of the duo – ordered the ribeye – a 28 day aged, grass fed, Queen certified steak. To be honest, I’m not sure what a Queen’s certified steak is, but this one is cooked to order and served with a side of crispy potato fries.


Dessert is the main meal. Any French bistro or brasserie worth its salt serves île flottante and chocolate fondant and tarte tatin. All three are on the menu at RAILS as well as cheese from La Fromagerie so it’s not an easy choice. We chose the first two and they were just as they should be. Light île flottante like gossamer, the meringue floats in a pool of crème anglaise and is topped with lightly toasted, flaked almonds. Not too sweet, and the texture is just perfect. This is a great dessert to end a French dinner with. The chocolate fondant is served with a vanilla cream quenelle and leaks melted chocolate when the spoon opens it. Another favorite dessert for Francophiles. Espresso and mint tea served with a small madeleine, a lovely touch to end the meal.


Over the past decade or two, the area around King’s Cross and St Pancras stations has completely changed. Now full of many restaurants, the choice for Londoners and visitors alike is huge. RAILS is located in a hotel with a long history of hospitality and is perfectly placed to welcome tourists as well as locals looking for a good meal with a nod to France just a train ride away. When we headed downstairs after dinner, I kind of wished we had tickets for the late train to Paris. Our dinner at RAILS really excited us.

RAILS Restaurant and Little Bar

1st Great Northern Hotel floor

King’s Cross St. Pancras International

Pancras Street, London N1C 4TB

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