Tried & Tested

Rail check: Eurostar Business Premier

27 Sep 2010 by Tom Otley

FIRST IMPRESSIONS I arrived at the Gare du Nord at 1010 for my 1113 departure, early because a transport strike was about to begin in Paris and I didn’t want to be caught up in traffic. I followed the signs for Business Premier and went up some escalators, checked in and then queued for a minute or so to get through immigration. Security was swiftly completed and I walked the length of the waiting area to the Business Premier lounge

THE LOUNGE This is a long room with a small upper level reached via some tight steps at one end. Internet cards can be requested from reception to connect onto the SFR network but despite my best efforts, and those of the helpful receptionist, the service did not seem to be working. The space has been laid out to cope with the busy periods, I imagine, but the chairs are quite close together and there is a shortage of plugs for those of us needing to charge phones or laptops while working. As with the London St Pancras Lounge, there is a huge choice of magazines and newspapers.  

Around 1055 there was an announcement that the 1113 departure would be delayed by about ten minutes because of a mechanical problem with the train, but then things moved on quite quickly and we were boarded by 1110.

THE CARRIAGE The carriage was only half full. I was in a single seat, and shortly before we departed a member of staff told me that we would not be stopping anywhere else and so I could move back in the carriage if I wished. I think he was mixing me up with someone who had expressed this wish.

FOOD AND WINE Shortly after departure we were offered lunch. Having experienced brunch on the outward journey the day before I did not have high hopes for this, an opinion strengthened by the amount of Business Premier passengers who had already started eating their own food – baguettes mostly – once they had boarded. The choice was organic red and white quinoa tabbouleh with black olives which was tiny, but perfectly tasty. Main courses were a choice of free range honey and sesame seed roasted turkey fillet from Loue in France with sautéed Mediterranean vegetables and steamed potatoes or salmon fillet with anchovy and black olive butter, basmati rice, sautéed courgettes with olive oil and cherry tomato. I had the turkey, and possibly because it was free range but more likely because it was overcooked it was tough with an unpleasant taste.

The wine choice was the same as on the outward journey. Pannier: Selection Pannier Brut. The wine choice was white: Chateau Tour de Mirambeau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc AOC 2008, Rose: Les Jamelles Grenache Rose Vin de Pays d’Oc 2008/9 and red: Prestige de Clavet Bordeaux AOC 2008 or Chateau La Condamine Corbieres AOC 2008.

I had a glass of champagne and topped it up with some orange juice.

ARRIVAL We arrived slightly late but were quickly down the moving walkways and out into St Pancras.

VERDICT For convenience, speed and comfort it can’t be beaten. Again, the food and service was disappointing.


PRICE £450 return (flexible ticket)

Tom Otley

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