Grain Store – London N1C
June 22, 2013 § Leave a comment
With stripped back decor and a menu that spoils for choice, this modern, stylish open kitchen puts King’s X firmly on the culinary map.
Hurrying up King’s Boulevard towards Granary Square, a rush of adrenalin suddenly surged through me. I had managed to secure a reservation at the Grain Store – Bruno Loubet’s newest venture – through a friend the day before, who had generously invited me (and my plus one) to gatecrash his Saturday night date. A double date at one of this year’s hottest summer openings! I couldn’t believe my luck.
We arrived a tad tardy and found our host polishing off an intoxicating ‘Truffle Martini’ (£7.5). After being advised not to start with such a strong drink, my date swiftly ordered another, and our evening began.
Having scanned the menu, we decided to let Bruno Loubet work his magic and order for us, choosing the Surprise Menu of 5 courses for £35. However the ‘Chilled lobster “Bloody Mary”‘ (£10.5) proved too intriguing to pass by, so we ordered one for the table to start with. The meaty chunks of lobster, adorned with a flavoursome clear tomato consume was light and fresh and not a bit like a Bloody Mary, but we were hardly disappointed; just slightly perplexed by the labelling. Our moment’s puzzlement was disrupted by the arrival of our first course: the ‘Crudites, cashew & yeast dip, olive soil’ arrived in a flower pot – making for a visually stunning “dish”, whilst the ‘Potato & rye bread, seaweed butter, oyster and borage leaves’ was nothing less than absolutely delicious – the powerful flavours of the oyster and seaweed beautifully complimented by the fresh borage leaves and heavy rye.
Our next course consisted of ‘Baked beetroot, pickled onions, goat labneh, dill oil dressing’ and ‘Gem hearts, broad bean, tempura elderflower, buratta, lemon oil dressing’ – both dishes equally elegant and enticing, fresh and flavoursome, however it was the ‘Butternut squash ravioli, sage & mustard apricots, pumpkin seed oil’ that followed, that really stole the show. The freshly made pasta, sweet, silky squash, tangy apricots and nutty seeds all working together to create a dish that I could happily have had all to myself.
More dishes arrived and quickly disappeared as we gleefully munched our way through the final two courses – broad bean & prawn falafels were accompanied by plates of corn & quinoa tamale, skewers of sticky pork belly atop chunks of cucumber which must have undergone some transformative style of cooking in order to make it taste as good as it did.
The Special Menu concluded with a dish of ‘Spiced candied tomatoes, goat’s milk panna cotta’ (£6) – the light, creamy panna cotta brought to life with the sweet, tangy tomatoes. Needless to say, plates were licked clean.
Sufficiently sated, we watched the striking Cheese Trolley, fashioned out of a baby’s pram, wheel past us, and temptation proved too much. Choosing a selection of cheese for the four of us to share, including a Welsh goat’s cheese, which in truth paled in comparison to the far superior richness of its French cousin, we nibbled our way through the plate, whilst sipping glasses of decadently sweet Bernard Gauthier XO (£12.5)
The Grain Store brings a new and innovative style of dining to London, which puts vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains at the centre of every dish without ever sacrificing on flavour. The restaurant’s design, with its open kitchen, working bar and dessert station, which surround the dining tables, bring the activity of the kitchen into the heart of the restaurant. Or perhaps it is the other the way around as the restaurant is moved into the heart of the kitchen? Semantics aside, it adds an element of entertainment and a very different, very welcome vibe to the dining room. The Grain Store is a fantastic addition to the growing King’s X dining scene and it is one I shall no doubt begin to frequent.
Acknowledgements: thanks must go to the lovely Paul for allowing me to gatecrash his Saturday night dinner. I owe you.