This – the latest in an ever-growing chain of coffee peddling, cocktail bar/restaurants – is a buzzy spot, trussed up in pastel hues, with a grey marble bar and snazzy neon wall sign. It’s all very Pink-Ladies-what-lunch.
Located opposite Caravan on Exmouth Market, the eye is on the ‘restaurant’ part of Grind’s remit. The menu of brunch and lunchy small plates certainly read well – Antipodean riffs on Euro-style small plates, a bit like, well, Caravan – but was hit and miss in practice. First, the good: a dinky dish of fried green tomatoes was all tart lemony notes and crunch; while chorizo meatballs wrapped with pancetta and insulated with dates were a neat riff on devils on horseback.
After that, things went off the boil. Bland chicken thighs were overwhelmed by the subtle sweetness of the accompanying corn (no small feat). Wild mushroom hash was more yolk-soaked-chipsticks with a spare sprinkling of ’shrooms. A decent enough hanger steak was undersold by a bed of sweet red-pepper purée and plain almonds (again, salt!). That’s not to say there isn’t promise: this is a decent enough spot for a boozy brunch in mildly hip surroundings. It’s just a bit awkward that it’s plonked on one of London’s finest food streets, its main competition looming opposite. Oh yeah, but they do all-you-can-drink prosecco for £12 – so they might have the upper hand yet.