It’s been a while since I last posted as the last couple of weeks have been a little crazy.
I’ve migrated from East London to South West. And I’ve started a new job. So I haven’t really been up to much except working and sleeping….And drinking very large glasses of red wine in front of iPlayer.
But don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you about that (as much as I love discussing Great British Bake Off). So, I’ll rewind a couple of weeks to brunch at Grain Store…
Grain Store is the sister restaurant of Bistrot Bruno Loubet, a French restaurant on Clerkenwell Road, adored by critics and foodies. Although not a vegetarian restaurant, the Michelin starred chef’s new offering is described as “the culmination of years dedicated to his beloved vegetable patch”.
As a self confessed carnivore, I can’t say this inspired me tremendously. When I think of French cuisine I think of steak. And moules. And duck confit.
But my skepticism was pushed aside as we were welcomed – by a very charming waiter – through the restaurant’s stunning interior to our table. And I caught a glance of the cocktail menu.
The converted warehouse space has been designed around the idea of an “exploded kitchen”: the kitchen itself taking centre stage, with storage jars lining the walls, copper pans hung decoratively from the ceiling and colanders as light fittings.
But onto that cocktail menu….
Devised by Tony Conigliaro (who runs 69 Colebrook Row in Angel), the menu offers diners a choice of six “savoury cocktails” and four “house”: from the classic Death in Venice Campari, grapefruit bitters, prosecco and orange), to the less typical Granary Martini (Mustard Vodka, dry vermouth).
I was intrigued by the savoury cocktails and ordered the Pumpkin & Maple Syrup Bellini. It was delicious and – as much as I love a classic peach bellini – refreshing to try something different.
The food menu, I felt, was less inspiring.
From the publicity surrounding the opening, I expected the menu to be creative and experimental. Instead, what we were presented with was a choice of classic dishes with a twist.
I ordered “Creamed chestnut mushrooms, toasted hazelnuts, fried duck egg” (considering how hungry I was, I should have foreseen this was not the best idea) and Jack ordered “Spinach welsh rarebit, sourdough toast, onion jam and cornichons” (a much better idea).
The duck egg was delicious, and the dish in it’s entirely perfectly executed.
Jack’s was good, too – hearty and rich. Oh and a lot bigger (cue serious food envy).
I was still feeling hungry so I decided to order “White chocolate crispy, dark chocolate mousse, almond ice-cream”…and I’m glad I did.
The chocolate mouse was perhaps the best I’ve ever tasted: rich and dense, yet not too heavy. The almond ice-cream contrasted wonderfully and you can’t go wrong with rice crispies in chocolate, can you?
All in all, I enjoyed it…but was left feeling a little discontent.
The size of the portions needs rethinking (for Sunday Brunch, at least…). If I go back, I’d order three or four to share between two people.
From a restaurant with Loubet’s name attached to it, I expected more flair. The dishes showed thought and were put together beautifully but in London that’s really not enough to set you apart.