The Grain Store is a stone’s throw from King’s Cross train station, located in an old warehouse that sits on a beautifully designed modern square by the canal. The restaurant utilises the airiness of the warehouse building to its full advantage, filling the huge space will an open kitchen and roughly varnished wooden tables, white painted chairs, soft furnishings and clever lighting to create a friendly and warm environment.
The menu is exciting and unusual; they call it eclectic, we call it genius. Here you will find none of your traditional staples or pairings. This may be an obstacle for the conservative diner but that would be their loss. Chef Bruno Loubet is a Frenchman, so there is a distinct French thread running through things, but nothing you can quite put your finger on. The menu is global and puts the humble vegetable on an equal footing with the meat and fish. Although don’t let this distract you, this is not a vegetarian restaurant – far from it.
The menu is relatively short, but perfectly balanced and varied with an equal offering of meat, fish and vegetable dishes. The Wild mushroom croquettes with pine nuts were amazing; they were crunchy at first bite giving way to a deliciously moist inside, the intense flavours exploded in your mouth with a mouth-watering effect. Other tasty looking starters included Smoked beetroot, pink grapefruit, gherkins, grated bottarga, mustard oil or the Celeriac remoulade, mushroom & duck liver pâté, mulled wine jelly. The mains were equally imaginative and packed full of flavour, the Buttermilk & caraway braised cauliflower with black trompettes & fresh grapes took the humble, and often ignored cauliflower, to new levels. The Root vegetable purées, wood roasted onions, cranberry braised beef was a treat. Desserts were exceptionally good as well, sometimes incorporating vegetables rather than fruits.
One of the best ways to explore the menu is to leave it up to the Bruno, for a set price Bruno and his team will create a special selection of dishes for your table.
This is a brave new approach to food in Britain and very welcome. As with all new ideas and concepts there are lovers and haters. We suggest you give it a try, leave your preconceptions and traditional ideas of food at home and give yourself up to Bruno and his team.
Footnote and Credits: This is an independent review; the writer dined as a mystery guest and paid for their meal. Photography is from The Grain Store’s website.