Sunday, 28 July 2013

Grain Store - Breath of Freshness

Bistrot Bruno Loubet is one of my favourite restaurants in London - the seemingly uncomplicated recipes effortlessly bring unfamiliar flavours together, and somehow harmonise them.

So when Bruno Loubet opened his restaurant at the Granary Square at Kings Cross, I was eager to pay a visit. The reservation system is odd. The online system seems to block out the 6:30-9 period, I am guessing they want to encourage walk-ins because it was less than half full when we arrived at 7:30 on a Sat evening. 

The restaurant is massive - a bit of country house, shabby chic in the decor. We sat outside.

Summer truffle risotto
Hmm... This is on the day's special and I totally wanted this. But Mister beat me to it and he wouldn't budge. Grrr...

The risotto was topped with thin shreds of truffle and a drizzle of truffle oil, plus a tiny sprinkle of parmesan. It smelt wonderful. Arguably not the best grade truffle, but the aromas deeply infiltrated the risotto, mingled with each grain of bouncy rice and packed each forkful with punches of nutty fragrance. In my humble opinion, I think it beats Gauthier's.

I'm sure Mister said I could have half before the dish arrived - think I ended up with 2 spoonfuls.

Butternut squash ravioli, sage & mustard apricots, pumpkin seed oils
This was recommended by our server; it wasn't even on my short list.

But I'm glad I went with his suggestion. The raviolli were filled with butternut squash, which meant the dish was predominantly sweet, then it was brought to life by the savoury parmesan, tangy balsamic and peppery rocket leaves, all rounded off with some crunch from the toasted pumpkin seeds. They complimented perfectly with each other in the right balance. Great dish.

Buttermilk & caraway braised cauliflower, wood baked onions, devilled duck heart
I was expecting the heart muscle to be quite bouncy, but these were slow-cooked to a beautiful melt-in-mouth texture. If anything it was more akin to the tip of a chicken drumstick with skin on, braised to utmost tenderness. Gorgeous.

The cauliflower was also perfectly cooked, tender but not mushy - It soaked up the buttermilk sauce like a sponge. It was more than just a side dish.

Kimchi & potato dumpling, Irish seaweed, chili oil lobster broth
I knew I wasn't going to like this the moment I saw this landed. It looked totally uninteresting, especially to an Asian.

The lobster in broth was way too subtle, just a tiny hint of shellfish after the chilli oil subsided. The dumpling skin was too think, and overcooked; it was only stuffed with kimchi and even that was quite flat. I liked the crunch, but it needed some meat or whatever else to lift the flavours. It was an oriental dish, sadly a poor one for me.

Strawberry & balsamic jam, horseradish ice cream, nasturtium leaves
Horseradish ice cream had a gentle kick and it paired well with the fiery nasturtium leaves. It was fresh and summery with the chopped strawberries.

Grain Store did it for me. I liked the emphasis it places on veg, their variety, freshness, recipes and methods of cooking made GS different to just another Modern European restaurant. The flavours were refreshing and clean, simple but creative. 

It's always a good sign when you struggle with the menu because you're spoilt for options. There were so many other items that looked intriguing, it just so happened I picked a main that didn't click with me. The good bits were promising enough for prompt a return visit though.

Granary Square
1-3 Stable Street
Tel: 0207 324 4466

Grain Store on Urbanspoon
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  1. I think I can eat at a venue like this everyday. Not too fanciful but ever so thoughtful and hearty!

    Lately I am a bit sick of really fanciful food that doesn't perform in the taste department quite frankly ... !

    1. Ahhhh I have seen your photos on your fb page... those Parisian goodies got me drooling!!!!! I, on the other hand, would really like something fancy