If browsing that Paddington Bear kiosk at Paddington Station and refueling a la Starbucks, McDonald's, Burger King etc (etc etc) just won't cut it as you await your train, consider Searcy's new(ish) and cosy little Champagne Bar next time you're stuck at the station and eager for quality thirst quenching.
According to the Searcy's folk, the Paddington installation is one of several more-permanent pop-ups coming to a station near you. Is this champers bar an invitation to indulge in a bit of grandeur amid the otherwise mundane or simply an out of place attempt to separate travellers from their hard earned quids? Well, we enjoyed our relaxed (and admittedly invited) quaff of a recent midweek evening visit. Service was incredibly prompt, helpful and friendly (and yes, we noticed servers were just as attentive to all patrons). Food prices were reasonable; it was tasty, no fuss food as well. We were particularly pleased with the smoked salmon with lemon (£5.50), smoked tuna with almonds (£5.50) and the coppa (cured by Trealy Farm in Monmouthshire, £6.00).
The bubbly stuff was good too. From an £8.50, 125mm glass of La Marquis de Marillac Brut NV to a £1200 Balthazar of Laurent-Perrier Brut NV (they've got cocktails, beer, soft drinks and coffee as well), the bar's well stocked, offering something for anyone with enough of a budget and some downtime. We liked sampling sips of Laurent-Perrier Rosé NV (£95 per bottle), Pommery Wintertime Blanc de Noirs NV (£79) and the especially crisp and forthright Lanson Gold Label Brut 1999 (£89). Not got the expense account to cover such imbibing? The Pommery Tasting Tray at £18 yields four taster size (50ml) glasses of seasonal Champagnes.
Uncertain at first whether we'd enjoy our sit and sip as rush hour commuters bumbled by, we were surprised to find the clamour fading to little more than background ambience and our short moment of sparkling tranquillity to be an appreciated break before the slog home.
Searcy's Paddington Champagne Bar is located at The Lawn (near Yo! Sushi), Paddington Station, W2 1FT. Visit www.searcys.co.uk/paddington-champagne-bar for details.