The British Pullman, Belmond's English luxury rail line, prides itself on a well-earned reputation for culinary excellence.
Aptly self-described as a “soirée on rails," this train features Michelin-starred chefs, vintage fine wines, and elegantly plated seasonal à la carte menus with an emphasis on regional flavor, freshly prepared using hand-selected ingredients from the British Isles.
While the precise details may vary based on a journey's length, destination, or theme, there are several gourmet staples that British Pullman passengers can expect to enjoy on just about any route they choose.
These include a salutary cocktail, a multi-course brunch, several rounds of tea and coffee, petits fours, a glass of chilled champagne, half a bottle of fine wine, and a gourmet dinner or luncheon of between three and five courses.
Immediately upon boarding, British Pullman passengers are shown to their seats—luxurious winged armchairs around an elegant table arrayed with bespoke silver—and presented with a peach bellini.
As the British Pullman's signature drink, this simple, nostalgic blend of chilled Prosecco and delicate Italian peach purée marks the start of an epicurean journey like no other.
Morning Tea And Coffee
As the train takes its leave of Victoria Station, breaking away from the vibrant cacophony of London, passengers are offered a wide selection of gourmet teas and freshly brewed coffees.
Served in fine china and poured by livery-clad attendants, the British Pullman tea and coffee offerings are a kaleidoscope of distinct flavors, including full-bodied java roasts, subtle chamomile flowers, zesty citrus blends, and richly spiced masala chai with notes of vanilla.
As London's concrete sprawl gives way to the rustic splendor of the English countryside, passengers are treated to a lavish brunch consisting of three distinct and decadent courses, accompanied by a wide selection of freshly pressed juices.
The first course, served promptly as guests near the end of their tea and coffee, are light and refreshing. Past journeys on the British Pullman have offered forest berry and granola parfait, a fresh fruit salad with Greek yogurt, lobster medallions with avocado tartar, and cocktail fruit-infused buttermilk scones.
The second course is more substantial and generally features the main brunch item. In the past, this has included smoked salmon rosettes with caviar and hollandaise sauce, omelets with winter truffles, and strawberry-garnished buttermilk pancakes with crème Fraiche.
The third course is traditionally sweet and indulgent. Prior selections have included passion fruit choux au craquelin; lemon and olive cake with vanilla whipped cream, dark chocolate, cherry meringue, French macrons, and a bramble tart.
Shortly after the final brunch course is cleared away, British Pullman trips typically arrive at their destination. This can be one of any number of offered stops on this line's vast, constantly rotating itinerary of journeys to quixotic villages, opulent manors, historic marinas, and elegant university cities.
After their afternoon outing, passengers are ushered back on board for a glass of chilled champagne—typically a vintage Veuve Clicquot or a Laurent-Perrier—to savor as the train begins its return to London.
Any London-bound return journey on a British Pullman day trip entails a sumptuous dinner of between three and five courses, depending on the outing. Each one is a seasonal British table d'hôte, curated and prepared by a Michelin-starred chef.
Onboard the British Pullman, the timing of each course is carefully tailored to the pace of the journey, with dessert often served to coincide with a breathtaking sunset.
Past dinner appetizers on the British Pullman have featured a chilled strawberry and champagne soup; truffled cauliflower purée; duck and Granny Smith apple terrine; saffron-dressed mixed leaf salad; ballotine of chicken with sun-blushed tomato; and roasted asparagus with apple and walnut crème fraiche.
Entrées have included Welsh lamb fillet on confit potato and spring peas; wild Cornish sea bass; roast rump of lamb on woodland mushroom ragù seared rib-eye with dauphinoise potatoes and an oxtail jus; and Kentish guinea fowl on a niçoise salad.
Desserts have consisted of a white chocolate, lemon, and blueberry charlotte with lemon crème anglaise; a strawberry Eton cheesecake a black forest gâteau with cognac cream and berry coulis; a raspberry rhubarb and custard; a toffee, banana, and pecan pudding; and pineapple and English rum cake drizzled with spiced butterscotch sauce.
In addition to the appetizer, entrée, and dessert offerings, four- and five-course dinners on board the British Pullman will also include hors d'oeuvres, a chef-selected amuse-bouche, a British cheese platter with fresh jams and homemade chutney, or some combination of the three.
The British Pullman boasts a vast and expertly curated array of vintage wines, all hand-selected by an onboard sommelier and carefully paired to each menu. On all routes, a passenger is entitled to half a bottle of wine of their choosing, typically served along with supper.
Evening Tea And Coffee
Naturally, a final round of tea and coffee is served after dinner on the British Pullman, accompanied by a mignardise, or after-dinner sweet, to be savored along with the approaching views of London's dazzling evening skyline.
These after-dinner sweets tend to be bite-sized but richly decadent, such as fresh fruits dipped in chocolate, hand-rolled truffles, or assorted petits fours.
As the train draws ever nearer to the bustle of Victoria Station, these last indulgences form the sweetest of literal and figurative notes on which to conclude this gloriously extravagant touristic and culinary adventure.