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Thursday, 27 January 2011

Searcys Champagne Bar, Paddington

Catching the 4.50 from Paddington circa 1957, Miss Marple would have been lucky to secure Camp coffee and a stale Bath bun at the station buffet. Fast forward to 2011, at the new Paddington Champagne Bar, the tweedy sleuth could get slewed on a bottle of vintage Dom Perignon, foie gras and macaroons for £160; roughly the same cost as a standard return to Bristol Temple Meads. Buoyed by the success of their fizz fountain at St. Pancras, caterers Searcys have homed in on another iconic terminus. Champagne and trains? It’s a fit, if you believe the marketing hype; rail travel is seen as a glamourous alternative to flying by the Jimmy Choo-choo set...and my name’s Isambard Kingdom Brunel! Have you ever sat, fuming,  outside Doncaster station 'due to a broken down train ahead of us', sweating like a glass blower's arse in a fetid carriage with no air con, gripey babies puking up on the tables, random nutters in cagoules trying to engage you in conversation and lardy overpainted Beryl Cook women on mobiles hollering 'I'm stoook ont' train, Marjorie luuuuuuv?' All this and a fifteen minute assault course to get to a buffet car that's out of everything except shortbread and chippy attitude? No thanks! Fair dos to Searcys tho'; there’s over a dozen bubbles by the flute from a not-greedy £8.50 here, Paddington Bear cocktails - sadly, without the furry one’s fave ingredient, marmalade - and traiteur-style treats. The bar, a streamlined art deco-inspired enclosure not unlike Searcys’s perma-packed outlet at Westfield, is at odds with its location, ‘The Lawn’ - some marketing clown’s hilarious euphemism for food court/ shopping mall. Visually incoherent, clattery, nerve-jangling; this hellish revenue-generating box is buzzed by the occasional pigeon. Poop on my Prada, pal, and Ma Marple will have the case of The Bird With The Wrung Neck to investigate. 
The Lawn, Paddington Station, W2  7993 3279 http://www.searcys.co.uk/paddington-champagne-bar/