Ever since it’s opening last summer I’ve been itching to visit Grain Store. With a focus on fruit and veg, the menu is right up my street and the pretty photos shared by bloggers across social media has only heightened my appetite. Grain Store is located in the up-and-coming Granary Square a short walk from King’s Cross Station. In recent months the square has become a central hub for events such as the Ice Cream Festival and trendy eateries including Caravan and Shrimpys. When I arrived there appeared to be an unusual new art project which involved clothing garments hanging in trees by the colourful fountains – odd! I turned up a little late due to a hold-up on the rush hour tube but thankfully our table had been saved.
The place appeared nearly full at around 6:30pm on a Thursday evening with groups of friends, colleagues and couples enjoying both dinner and drinks. The open plan space was spacious but felt comfortable and the décor had that homely feel. We instantly felt relaxed and that was before we ordered the cocktails! It was only right that we ordered a cocktail which are mixed by Tony Conigliaro from the highly successful Zetter Townhouse and renowned for their incredible cocktails. I was a little apprehensive over my choice of the Pumpkin and Maple Syrup Bellini as I feared this would be too sweet before dinner. I was wrong and the mixture of pumpkin purée, maple syrup and champagne proved a big hit. Eleanor went for a beetroot mocktail which was also delicious.
The eccentric menu is divided up into small and large plates with many dishes being available in both sizes. Eleanor and I decided to share three small plates which proved just enough with a little room left for dessert. The first dish we chose was vegetable merguez, aromatic vegetables & preserved lemon salad. This was essentially a spicy vegetarian sausage with roasted vegetables and a lemon dressing. Both the sausage and vegetables were well cooked with plenty of flavour. On first bite I got a huge chunk of lemon which was so overpowering and not to my taste so I made sure I gave the rest of the lemon to Ele (who loved it) and let my taste buds concentrate on the other flavours. The roasted veg was dressed in oil but it wasn’t overly greasy which was nice and the whole dish tasted fresh and healthy.
The second dish we chose was baked beetroots, pickled onions, goat labneh, dill oil dressing which we asked for without pickled onions. Again, this was well cooked with the beetroot retaining a slight hardness which went well with the softness of the goat labnuh – a lovely, soft and creamy cheese. The dill oil dressing was ever so flavoursome and it didn’t make the dish feel overly greasy. Like with every dish we sampled, the presentation was second to none and portions small enough to taste a couple of different dishes but large enough to fully appreciate.
Last but not least, we shared a small portion of butternut squash ravioli, sage & mustard apricots and pumpkin seed oil, which was the star of the show by far. The ravioli was ever so flavoursome with the sweetness of the squash and apricots really coming through with every bite. The crispy sage offered a different texture and offset the sweetness and the oil provided the finishing touch. If you visit Grain Store you MUST order this dish! It also comes in a large potion but I think it’s always nice to experience a range of dishes and you can still get a feel for the beauty of this dish with a small portion. We were in union when saying the butternut squash raviolli was to die for after we had cleared our plates.
After a delightful main course we couldn’t wait for dessert! The menu contained a good choice including mousse, panna cotta and cheese. Although we wanted to try them all, our stomachs wouldn’t allow it, so we ended up sharing two. We chose the light waffle, fruit compote, vanilla sabayon which looked huge on the plate, like it was the sort of dessert that may push us over the edge but thankfully this wasn’t the case. The four small waffle triangles were light and fluffy and went in no time. I don’t often like waffles as they can be a little dry but there was a large helping of fruit compote which was the freshest I’ve ever tasted. It was more like stewed freshly picked fruit as opposed to the compote’s you usually find accompanying restaurant desserts. The vanilla sabayon was light and airy but this meant it didn’t go far and I felt we could have done with a little more or it could have been thicker. It was so whipped it seemed to quickly dissolve as soon as I placed some on the waffle which resulted in me only really being able to taste the fruit compote.
We were hoping the tart of the day would be almond or chocolate, both a favourite of ours, but it was fig. A good sized slice arrived accompanied with the tiniest scoop of vanilla ice cream which was nice but there could have been more. Like the waffles, the tart tasted fresh and fruity, as if all the ingredients were picked up from the local farm that morning. The pastry was nice but not as sweet as I would have liked, but well cooked which is key. After experiencing an incredible three dishes previously, we couldn’t help but feel a little let down by the desserts. Maybe this is because we are both cake bloggers and therefore have more experience with desserts and are fussier when it comes to sweet treats but I do think there’s some small improvements to be made. Both desserts were very nice but they weren’t mind blowing as our expectations led us to believe. We finished with an ever so fresh mint tea which our satisfied tums appreciated.
The bill was served in a quirky wooden pear which I thought was a nice touch and in keeping with the style of the restaurant. I noticed that an additional £1 was added to our bill as a donation to Grain Store’s charity partners ‘Action Against Hunger’ which although I didn’t mind paying, I thought was a little cheeky that we weren’t made aware of this. The meal was great value coming to a total of £55 for three small plates, two desserts, cocktails, mint teas and service. It’s no wonder Grain Store gained a Bib Gourmand (a Bib Gourmand award recognises places where you can eat three courses for £28 or less) as part of the Michelin Awards released the very same morning. Grain Store certainly lived up to expectations and I would certainly return as a relaxed, interesting and good value place to eat and drink. I would like to come back for a drink or two in their bar and sample some dishes from their all day menu as this also looks like a winner. King’s Cross is certainly going up in the world of food.
Living life, loving cake,