Grain Store is the creation of chef Bruno Loubet and the people behind the Zetter Hotel and the Zetter Townhouse. It has a rather wonderful location in the beautifully redeveloped part of Kings Cross called Granary Square.
It’s a brave venture for two reasons: firstly, it’s a massive restaurant seating around 120 covers in total and secondly, it doesn’t serve burgers or brasserie dishes like most places right now. Instead, the concentration is on vegetables and meat takes a back seat. I was worried that I might struggle to enjoy the food as I’m such a carnivore but boy was I wrong!
The restaurant is a rather stunning one; the kitchen is completely open plan so you can watch all the action. We were seated on stools at the bar (something which I normally hate) but once we got chatting to the bar staff we loved it – you couldn’t not. The place had a real buzzy atmosphere and there was even a guy playing the piano which was a lovely touch.
We decided to start with some onion bread with creme fraiche butter (£3) which was particularly good; sweet oniony bread and light, tangy butter.
We decided to share a starter; peach, salted watermelon and basil salad with confit salmon (£7) which was beautifully presented. It sounded like a bizarre mix of ingredients but they all worked really well together; refreshing, light and totally summery.
For main I opted for the spiced mash, mint pickled cucumber, raw pink turnip tops, broad beans and confit lamb belly (£14). It looked like an extremely healthy plate of food and tasted exactly that – there were a lot of vegetables present. But the crispy and mildly fatty lamb provided some richness and the quantities were actually spot on – maybe you don’t always need a big plate of meat!
My gentleman companion went for the corn and quinoa tamale, salsa and sticky pork belly (£15). The pork was unlike any belly we’ve had before (usually with a crispy skin) this one wobbled like jelly and the fat remained gelatinised – but my God was it delicious. The corn and quinoa tamale mainly featured sweet corn and was served in a corn husk which you unwrap yourself. It wasn’t the most attractive thing you’ve ever seen but it did taste very delicious indeed.
We decided to share a pudding and went for the strawberry and balsamic jam, horseradish ice cream and nasturtium leaves (£5.50). The jam was sweet with a twang from the balsamic which was lovely and the horseradish ice cream was particularly creamy and refreshing which cut through the strawberries brilliantly. This pud was faultless.
The food at Grain Store was fantastically inventive and showed me that I don’t always need to be so obsessed with meat. The restaurant was beautiful, the food on the whole was stunning and the service was friendly and knowledgable. It really is an exciting restaurant.