Oct 18 2013

Grain Store

I really wanted to go to Grain Store restaurant as during a recent lunch I had sat next to a man who had been there and he said how amazing it was and how this restaurant focused on vegetables and meat and fish were a side to the meal, not the main portion of the mea. It sounded very interesting, and I also found out that the main chef was Bruno Loubet (who owns the restaurant together with the Zetter Group's Michael Benyan and Mark Sainsbury), and I had been to one of his other restaurants, Bistrot Bruno Loubet (owned by the same people), so I booked Grain Store for dinner for a Friday evening.

Grain Store is a sustainable restaurant and they think eating more vegetables and less meat is a better sustainable way of living and this is how they structure their menus.  Despite only recently opening, they have already been named the sustainable restaurant of the year, and this is the sort of veggie paradise, as you can get all the dishes without meat or fish, and the choice of creative vegetarian dishes here is remarkable.

Our dinner was booked for 6pm so we took the tube to Kings Cross and then walked 5min to get to Granary Square, where Grain Store is located. If you have not been to Kings Cross in a while, you will be amazed about how it has changed in the last few years and how it is such a pleasant and modern development these days. Granary Square has beautiful colourful fountains and during the summer Grain Store has tables outside and you can sit there and watch the world go by and it does not feel at all like you are in Kings Cross.

As we went there during autumn and quite late, naturally we, like the rest of the people, were sitting inside. We had changed out reservation a few times and initially it surprised me it was so easy to get a table, but I realized why once I entered the restaurant. The restaurant is very big, and can accommodate 140 people (and 80 people outside when the weather is good). The interior is beautiful. I was actually told off when I was taking pictures of the interior, as the waitress said they don’t allow it, but you can see some of the pictures that I managed to take. The place feels very trendy, it has a NY/ warehouse feel about it, the lamps are made out of glass and hand from the ceilings and you can see the metal rods and tubes, open a/c ducting in the ceiling. The interior was created by Russell Stage and apparently he has trying to create the idea of “the exploded kitchen” and the interior blurs the lines between a kitchen and the dining room, which I could sort of see, but only because I was told to look for it, I would not guess otherwise. There is an open plan kitchen on one side of the restaurant, and I was watching chefs cook amazing things, as I was passing it to go to the toilet.

It took us a long time to decide what we wanted to have from the menu which featured starters (from £5 to £10.5), main courses (from £9.5 to £16) and deserts (and you could also have a sort of tasting menu for £35/ person with dishes selected by Bruno), and the menu is said to be “the culmination of Bruno Loubet’s travels and the years dedicated to his beloved vegetable patch”. What is so interesting that for each dish the vegetable part is described first and then only at the end, are the meat and fish mentioned. We decided to share some starters and ordered “onion bread with crème fraiche butter”, “Roast pepper salad, artichoke & anchovy dip”, “Courgette, broad bean & prawn falafel, raita” and a small portion of “Handmade butternut squash ravioli, sage & mustard apricots, pumpkin seed oil”(available as a main course as well). I very much enjoyed the onion bread, but I think that is because I have not had it in a long time, and it felt lovely and oniony and nice with the butter. The roast pepper salad was quite plain, but interesting, and it had roast peppers, the Spanish padron peppers and it was nice eating them with the artichoke and anchovy dip, which was not too overpowering, it was a nice dish but a bit disappointing and I can’t really say why, I guess I just expected more food and something more.  The butternut squash ravioli were delicious, very soft and tasty. I also very much liked the prawn and broad been falafels, they were cute and small and tasty with the raita. Also the ravioli and the falafel dishes came covered in rocket salad, showing the veggie friendly way of this restaurant.

It also took us a long time to choose our main courses as once again the menu was very creative and interesting and there were none of your obvious dishes you would find in other restaurants, and in the end I went for the “Kimchi & potato dumpling, Irish seaweed, chilli oil lobster broth” my boyfriend chose the day’s special which was a beef congee. I chose the kimchi and potato dumplings as I loved how it sounded on the menu, I really like kimchi, seaweed, chilli and lobster, but I was disappointed with what I got. The broth had a lot of lobster flavour, but no lobster chunks at all, even though the waitress had made it sound like there would be some lobster, and it was not spicy at all, I could feel no chilli. The dumplings were soft and you could feel they were made fresh, but the kimchi did not really stand out, and I could not taste the proper kimchi flavour and it just felt like quite a heavy dish. Very interesting dish, as it is not obvious to put all these things together, but somehow not quite right when you got it. The beef congee was also not that amazing, it was like a rice porridge with a bit of beef, not much beef, and a minty flavour, as it had mint in it. My boyfriend sort of liked it, but he did not think it was amazing, and he sort of wishes he had ordered something else.

My dinner buddies Deepak ordered the day's special from the 'Josper oven' (which is a combination of a grill and an oven in a single machine which a lot of restaurants these days use), which was “rabbit leg with salsa verde and dauphinoise potatoes” and his wife Stuti ordered “Vegetable merguez, aromatic vegetables & preserved lemon salad”. Merguez usually is a red, spicy mutton- or beef-based fresh sausage usually eaten in North Africa, and it was incredible how they had made it vegetarian, as it tasted like it had meat in it. But the best dish I thought was the dish that Deepak chose, the rabbit was delicious, so were the potatoes and the salsa verde a nice addition. The only thing was that all these dishes were very small, and after the starters and the main courses I did not feel completely full and felt like I needed to have a desert to really feel like I have eaten. I find this strange and not sure why they made the portions so small and light.

Feeling still hungry, I chose a very intriguing desert “Spiced candied tomatoes, goat's milk panna cotta” and my boyfriend and Deepak went for the “white chocolate rice crispy, dark chocolate mousse, almond ice cream”. The desert menu was interesting, but there were not many obvious things for sweet lovers like my boyfriend, and he had problems chosing what he wanted, as there was no obvious chocolaty or non-chocolaty desert there. My dinner buddies had commented how strange it was to have tomatoes in a desert, and I am sure it stops many people from ordering this desert, but in reality this dish is a light and nice panna cotta with four candied tomatoes, and they taste sweet and have only a slight resemblance to the taste of tomatoes. My boyfriend and Deepak though very much liked their desert, and I tried it and thought the white chocolate rice crispies were nice and once again it was quite an unusual dish. Stuti ordered a mango ice cream as a desert.

I had a very memorable meal at the Grain Store, but that is because I think the menu is so interesting and so different from the menus in other restaurants you do remember this place for that. The dishes are also very interesting and unusual, although a few times they do let you down, and you sort of expect more than what you get.

Date: 18/ 10/ 13
Location: Kings Cross
Price for 4 people with alcohol and service charge: £170.03

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Maija rated: 




Grain Store
Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street, N1C 4AB
United Kingdom
Grain Store Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5