Tuesday 1 April 2008

Eurostar, Business Class, London to Brussels

At both St. Pancras and the Gare du Midi, a business class ticket gives you access to a compact lounge with snacks, drinks, newspapers and magazines. The lounge in Brussels is more dingy than its London counterpart, but it does have Internet access terminals. On the train, everything is entirely silver or grey - the wide comfortable seats, the carpeted ceilings and floors, the tables and the staff uniforms. Business class passengers are served an airline-style meal appropriate to the time of day. But the continental breakfast can be a little tired, sometimes featuring green-streaked ham, a battered apple, a tiny onion and parsley muffin, some mild cheddar, a grilled tomato and some lacklustre yoghurt. At least the coffee flows freely. The dinner isn't much better. The smoked salmon and dill tartare can be overly-chilled and lacks flavour, while the beef stew can taste like it was prepared in a school canteen - overcooked so you can barely taste the prunes and accompanying mangetout. The slice of Roquefort cheese and the waffles, served with blueberry jam, are small, but filling. You can wash your dinner down with a can of beer or a 187ml bottle of wine, such as the mediocre Dourthe Barrel Select Bordeaux 2005. All in all, nothing special. 5/10