The Grain Store is every vegan/vegetarian/glutton allergy diner’s dream and I made my trip there back in May 2014. You guessed it their USP’s are the vegetables and boy do they do it good there – don’t get this confused as a vegetarian’s haven though but a veg-centric restaurant with a focus on dishes from all over the globe inspired by owner/head chef Bruno Loubet’s travels. He teams up with with Michael Benyan and Mark Sainsbury of the Zetter Group following their success of the Zetter Town House and opened in June 2013 in the trendy regenerated Granary Square of Kings Cross and receives a Bib Gourmand in the first year running as you do. Located above Regents Canal it looks like a giant art installation with spurting fountains highly pruned trees and restored 19th century brick warehouses. It also shares this traffic free space with the Caravan which I can’t wait to try either. The clientele are of a varied sort, well heeled and hipsters alike all brought together to dine. What’s really nice to know too is that Bruno plans to open a Grain Store in Gatwick airport too which is a welcome culinary gesture to the otherwise drab food choices at the airport.
The stylish interior is a mixture of simple industrial warehouse chic and Ikea as one of the diners eloquently put it. The restaurant is vast, seats 140 covers and the theatrical open kitchen is a blast as you walk past.
We go for the £39 surprise menu as we simply couldn’t decide and the element of not knowing what’s coming can go either way but fortunately we were in a safe pair of hands.
Paying tribute to their suppliers was a nice little touch and it was good to know where the produce/products came from.
We kick off with the vegetable chorizo scotch eggs that we requested to be added into the surprise menu (£6). Served with aioli, sliced fennel and the pulses & lentils it was made with carried smokey paprika flavours which shone through. I’m convinced that any unsuspecting diner would believe they would be eating meat! They were really stand out for me and the flavours really wake up the taste buds.
First up on the surprise menu we have the grilled asparagus with what seems to be pea sauce. It was like spring on a plate, a sure fire way to remind us that summer was ahead of us. The asparagus could have down with a little less cooking though to retain some of that natural crunch, sadly it made it quite limp and uninspiring.
Mix leaf salad with what we’re advised with grated fish roe which was a nice little addition – the concept was great but in the end it was merely a bowl of under dressed leaves, the other diners barely touched it and probably something I would say no to next time round.
These little falafels were top notch, you could really taste the chick peas and spices which were really moist inside that crunchy exterior. All topped with tahini, parsley and mint. Wonderful.
I was pretty enthralled by this dish , totally well put together with a stew like base consisting of lentils and spices. It had this irresistible nutty flavour with cumin and was all lifted by the chopped sweet onions, tomatoes and parsley. The oily piece of mackerel on top was grilled so well too. Pure comfort in a bowl.
A earthy rustic dish that worked really well in my opinion – the beets so colourful and duck flesh sweet and cooked to a perfect pink. It came with skewered duck hearts which were no joke, they were excellent. The roasted onion, soaked prune and fresh red currents gave it that sweet/acidic dimension to lift the dish.
Meringue with cream and strawberries. It tastes exactly what it says on the tin but not the most exciting desert to be honest with no boundaries pushed. Not a tragic end to the meal but we really expected something more inspiring.
The damage: Expect to pay £50-£70 per head with wine
The good: The vegetable chorizo scotch eggs were a revelation, the falafel and mackerel dish on par too. The restaurant atmosphere is lively as well as entertaining with the open kitchen with swift & polite service. The Grain Store is a nice addition to the London restaurant scene with it’s broad geographical influences whilst showcasing the vegetables alongside the meat.
The bad: Some head scratching moments with the asparagus, mix leaf salad and desert – a large iron is required to get rid of some of those creases to a turn a ‘hit and miss’ restaurant into something quite special for the value.
1-3 Stable Street
London N1C 4AB
020 7324 4466