Grain Store sits snugly within the recently redeveloped Granary Square vicinity sharing space with Dishoom, Caravan and Yumchaa (and Central Saint Martin’s campus) creating a rather vegetarian friendly enclave. And that is the main reason why I found myself at Grain Store on a Monday evening, for a “kind of” vegetarian friend in King’s Cross to get her fix!
P.S. I’m sorry about the picture quality, this was taken with my friend’s camera in pretty terrible lighting conditions!
Grain Store has all the hipster vibes going for it with the decor and layout. Almost too large for its location, on this evening Grain Store closed off a section of its restaurant to create a “packed” atmosphere.
We ordered two starters to share, the Focaccia, dukkah and olive oil dip and the Butternut Squash Ravioli, mustard apricots, rocket and pumpkin seeds. On top of that I had a main all to myself! The ginger and cardamom heritage carrots, persillade, swiss chard & freekeh stuffed quail. And to round it all off we had the Lyonnaise Bugne, matcha tea creme brulee, raspberry sorbet.
The focaccia came in a healthy serving, the dukkah giving it just enough distinction for it to be of interest though bread is bread and I’ve had better.
The ravioli whilst delicate and beautifully presented was disappointing. The butternut squash filling had a nice sweet bite and the nuttiness of the pumpkin seeds gave it the texture it lacked but the whole dish needed another element to pull it together which should have been the mustard apricots but whether it was visually or in taste they were non-existent.
The main promised a lot but eventually delivered little. Yet again beautifully presented and surprisingly quite a large portion, maybe we could have forgone the starters. There were an abundance of heritage carrots, which at first taste delivered interest but after the 100th bite you question “where’s the ginger, where’s the cardamom?” Flavours were lacking. And I feel for its lack of sauce the carrots really should have been cooked longer to bring out more of its own juices, instead Grain Store chose to serve them just cooked, almost raw. The highlight of this dish, disappointingly, was the freekeh stuffed quail. For a restaurant that wants to put vegetables at its forefront that isn’t what I hoped would stand out. Whilst this is coming from a certified carnivore (can Panda’s be carnivores?) the flavours or the cooking methods of the vegetables just didn’t excite. The quail, however, was cooked beautifully and the freekeh providing a welcome texture balance compared to the chore of trying to finish the carrots.
The dessert was a mixture of successes and failures, though was easily the strongest dish. The lonely piece of bugne did not belong in the dish. It gave nothing extra to it and did not really compliment in terms of flavours. The matcha creme brulee along with my quail were the highlights of the evening. It had a suitably crispy top and hints of matcha flavour throughout its creamy texture, though the matcha could have been stronger. The raspberry sorbet was decent and just about complimented the brulee though I can imagine other flavours working better.
I know I have a tendency to over critique places that aren’t actually that bad. More than once I’ve been told, “it sounds like you are slating a restaurant but then you give it a 6!” Well simply put I had high expectations for Grain Store but these were not met. However it is by no means a bad restaurant, it’s just that for me to return for the price of the meal they’d need to up the execution of their dishes.
Address: Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street, London, N1C 4AB
Telephone: 0207 324 4466
Mind The Gap:
Panda ate, shot and left.