Restaurant review: The Grain Store, King’s Cross, N1C
- Credit: Archant
The Grain Store, in the newly glamorous environs of King’s Cross, is the latest venture of celebrated French chef and Anglophile Bruno Loubet.
But while his signature Clerkenwell restaurant harks back to the cuisine of his homeland, his new place offers something different; Mediterranean, North African fare where vegetables take the centre stage.
Located in one corner of the immense and lovingly refurbished granary building, it is open and airy with lots of bare brick work and pleasing clutter; cooking utensils hanging from the ceiling, wine racks, shelves full of vegetables.
The enormous kitchen sits proudly in the middle and is very open indeed – cooks scuttle about while Mr Loubet orchestrates things from the centre – it’s a nice touch, making the whole restaurant seem like a chef’s table.
There’s about a page of menu with lots of quinoa, lentils, pickles and spices; any meat in the dish is on the right hand side of the description so at first glance it looks very veg heavy – which it is – but there something for carnivores too.
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There is also a “surprise” tasting menu for £35 where you put your trust entirely in the hands of the kitchen.
But we went a la carte and the bean salad had a nice kick from the miso aubergine and chicken skin – and was well complimented by the matching cocktail; a smokey sherry and lemonade concoction.
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Meanwhile the courgette, bean and prawn falafel were gorgeous, served just warm enough with a hint of spice and a cooling raita.
The mains came out and, I have to say, the portions were a bit delicate, slightly lonely even, as if begging to be to be accpompanied by a couple of sides - but, alack, there weren’t any on the menu.
However, what was there was very good. The wood pigeon kebab was cooked in the charcoal-fired jasper oven and came out resplendent in rich, gamey flavours.
Likewise the lamb belly; the meat was toothsome and tender in equal measures and served with a variety of piquant accompaniments; pickled cucumbers, raw radishes and slightly curried mashed potatoes.
For dessert, we opted for the cheese trolley, and was happy to see the proprietors Gallic roots come through in spades in a collection of smooth and smelly fromage.
The Grain Store is certainly a bold departure from Bistro Bruno Loubet, and fans of one won’t necessarily be wild about the other,
But for a vegetable-centric meal with some inventive combinations and plenty of exotic flavours it’s well worth a look.