My review of Business Premier on the brand new Eurostar e320 trains (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of my review of the Business Premier and Standard Premier service on the new Eurostar e320 trains.  Part 1, also published today, can be found here and includes my thoughts on the seats and some background information on the new fleet.


In Business Premier, but not Standard Premier, the catering is overseen by Raymond Blanc of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.

It is still underpowered compared to what I used to get on Virgin West Coast when I was making regular trips to Birmingham, but it did the job.

You start, for breakfast, with a tray of water / juice / yoghurt / bread / pastries:

Eurostar Business Premier review e320 new trains

The croissant was not as good as the ones in the lounge.  I never understand why Eurostar has always struggled with fresh pastries.  I give British Airways some leeway when they struggle to serve good bakery items 11 hours into a long haul flight.  I don’t understand why Eurostar cannot order large quantities of high quality croissants for ‘just in time’ loading and serving.

This was followed by a choice of either:

Hot breakfast – sausage, grilled Hampshire bacon, spinach and Red Leicester frittata, grilled tomato with chives, sauteed button mushrooms; or

Lighter Options – smoked salmon, hard-boiled egg, paprika mayonnaise

Everyone gets a fruit plate as well.

I went for the lighter option:

Eurostar Business Premier review e320 new trains

…. and it was fine.  The Blanc spark of creativity came from the paprika mayonnaise, not something I would usually add to smoked salmon but which worked very well.

My biggest gripe is that the crew disappear after your meal has been served, presumably to serve other carriages, and are never seen again.  If you want another cup of coffee, it is tricky to track one down.  I would have liked to see another couple of passes down the cabin later in the journey offering top-ups.

Standard Premier catering

Whilst we’re looking at catering, this is the meal I received in Standard Premier on the way back:

Eurostar Business Premier review e320 new trains

It is served in one go on one tray and will always be a cold meal.  As you can see, I took a meat and potato plate with a pudding, some bread and a mini bottle of white wine.  It was perfectly acceptable but not substantially ahead of what British Airways would serve in Club Europe.  They could do a lot more with the food if they wanted given that Eurostar is free of the restrictions imposed on in-flight catering.

What else in new on the Eurostar e320 fleet?

There are a lot more changes on the new Eurostar fleet, much of which I didn’t see because it isn’t easy to walk through Eurostar trains.  You will also find:

baby changing facilities in the toilets

an average of 13% more luggage space per passenger, apparently, with luggage racks in the centre of carriages to enable passengers to keep an eye on their bags

new in-carriage display boards (see below)

Eurostar Business Premier review e320 new trains

and new look cafe bars, Cafe Metropole, which do look cool (this is a Eurostar press photo):

Eurostar Business Premier review e320 new trains


The e320 is clearly ‘evolution’ not ‘revolution’ for Eurostar and at the end of the day there is only so much you can do with a train.

After the initial surprise, I was perfectly happy with the new slimline seating for a two hour journey.  The new entertainment system and, when fully working, on-train wi-fi and the copious number of power sockets (now in economy as well) are an improvement.

The carriages are light and bright.  I have seen comments elsewhere about the trains feeling bumpier than the old ones but I honestly didn’t notice that.  It would be good to see more money spent on catering but the company seems to have decided that as long as it matches the airlines it will be fine.

If I have any concerns, it is overcapacity at St Pancras.  Boarding an additional 150 passengers per train puts an additional squeeze on the boarding ramps and, when the new Amsterdam services begin, the concourse will become even more crowded.  Gare du Nord is in the middle of a major overhaul to increase Eurostar capacity but nothing is happening in London – luckily I have my Amex Platinum card for lounge access.

I have just booked myself a one-way ticket back from Paris later this month in Standard Premier so I am happy to put my money where my mouth is when continuing to recommend the service.

My review of Business Premier on the brand new Eurostar e320 trains (Part 1)
Bits: new Radisson UK sale, a good IHG London redemption, double Avios with Avis
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  1. I have to agree the new seats are disappointing , they don’t envelop you as the old ones did and have lost the upper side supports to rest the side of your head on , the lack of consideration for comfort on most new design train seats is a feature these days , another oddity is the lighting it seems harsh . The food is a let down compared to the early days .

    However when our service was switched to an old train they did offer to switch us to a new one after contact , you can find out which service is scheduled by using the trick suggested by seat61

    Before you buy a ticket…
    Here’s an easy way to tell whether any given Eurostar departure is a new e320 or not. Both & show you your allocated seat number before you have to pay. So simply make a dummy booking at either or for the relevant Eurostar route and select a 1st class fare on any Eurostar departure – it’s important that it’s a 1st class fare – and add it to your basket…
    Now look at the seat numbers. If it gives you a 1st class seat in cars 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12, it’s either a classic Eurostar or a refurbished e300, you can’t predict which. If you get a 1st class seat in cars 1, 2 or 3 or in cars 14, 15 or 16 then it’s a new e320. Now simply delete the dummy bookings, or just let them expire.

    I hope that does not contravene any site rules if so please delete I am not connected to any of the sites mentioned

  2. We travelled on one of these trains to Paris a few weeks ago. In standard class it felt a little cramped, though comfortable. There is less overhead luggage space. The on board entertainment is a good facility, but not entirely reliable; though my partner could logon and watch a film, my iPad (same model) refused to attach.

    Your point about loading extra passengers into the soul sucking hell of the standard departure area is well made. I just don’t see how they’ll cope.

  3. Andy S says:

    I do think moving to St Pancras was a backward step. The departure area in Waterloo was a lot better. StP seems to have too much “landside”

  4. ankomonkey says:

    When using Eurostar, we tend to drive and park at Ebbsfleet. It’s far quieter for boarding and with reserved seats (presumably a standard offer included in the ticket price – we’ve always had it anyway) it’s not a problem boarding at a station after most get on. It also avoids us having to traipse across London on the tube with kids and luggage. we don’t live in London so have the choice of train into Marylebone then tube, or drive to Ebbsfleet.

  5. Andrew says:

    “free of the restrictions imposed on in-flight catering” – free of some of the restrictions perhaps but they are still limited to the facilities available on a moving vehicle. What is the catering like on equivalent 2-3 hour European train journeys? TGV, ICE, Thalys, etc.

    • andrew says:

      From my limited experience (3 single journeys) of Thalys 1st class between Paris and Amsterdam earlier in the year, Eurostar food is on a par, but the service is lagging. For instance breakfast from Paris was croissants, pastries, and a blueberry compote thing – but I was offered coffee approximately every 20 miniutes throughout the whole 3 journey.
      I think the Thalys seats are more comfortable too – but agree with Rob that the new e320 seats are indeed comfortable.

  6. Stuart F says:

    Does anyone know long before departure can you arrive to use the lounge? I’ve heard they are after security and your ticket won’t let you pass if you are too early.

  7. Is champagne still available with breakfast in Business Premier?! They used to do good smoked salmon on blinis with cream cheese..that mayo splat and half egg look like a step backwards. I also miss the days of hot food and champagne in Standard Premier, before the dreaded “light bites” came in..