From the prodigiously talented Bruno Loubet, a King's Cross dining king; modern cooking that takes bold gambles and consistently makes them pay.
Please note, Grain Store is now closed. Time Out Food editors, December 2017.
The one-time industrial wasteland north of King’s Cross station has been transformed by a hugely ambitious urban regeneration project. Grain Store occupies just one part of a vast former Victorian warehouse. Most of the rest of the building has been imaginatively transformed into Central Saint Martins, and so the forecourt, Granary Square, is now perpetually thronged with fashionably dressed students. Outdoor café tables are ready for diners and drinkers willing to brave the elements.
Grain Store inhabits its warehouse corner a little uneasily, but it’s prettied up with an open kitchen, batterie de cuisine and wine racks, reminiscent of a Carluccio’s in a shopping mall. The resemblance ends there.
The patron of this excellent new restaurant is Bruno Loubet, a chef who made his mark on London’s dining scene with the sensational Bistrot Bruno in Soho (1993-’95) and then, more recently, Bistrot Bruno Loubet in Clerkenwell.
Loubet is Bordeaux-born, and his cooking is grounded in the classical traditions of south-west France, but not bound by them. The menu is a pick ’n’ mix of ingredients and cuisines, yet there is a consistency of style and imaginative, successful flavour pairings that is recognisably Loubet.
Vegetables are his current passion. Pretty colours and simple preparation made a platter of baked beetroots, pickled onions and a strained goat yoghurt labneh into an attractive dish; a dill oil dressing made the disparate flavours hang together well. Curiously, this dish wasn’t marked as vegetarian, though ten other dishes were, plus there were two vegan options (from a total of 26). That’s a lot of veggie action.
Meat is also given serious attention, though used mainly as the sideshow. A cube of sticky pork belly was served as an accompaniment to a corn and quinoa tamale, the filling kept very moist by the corn husk wrapper while griddled.
The dessert list doesn’t play safe either. Strawberries both fresh and cooked in a balsamic jam were topped with a spicy horseradish ice cream: an unlikely yet inspired combination.
The big catch with Grain Store is that the phone number diverts you to an online booking site, which shows virtually no free tables for the next month. But some are held back for walk-ins – you have to arrive early and hope for the best. This isn’t too bad an option as there’s an attached bar with excellent cocktails conceived by barmeister Tony Conigliaro. And if you don’t get in at all, Grain Store is still a great wingman for the area’s other good new dining options.
|Venue name:||Grain Store - CLOSED|
1-3 Stable Street
|Transport:||Tube: King's Cross St Pancras tube/rail|
|Do you own this business?|
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Visited the Grain Store after reading a positive TimeOut review.We arrived at 10:30am on a Saturday for breakfast, to be told there are only pastries and coffee until 11:00am.Tip here; don’t advertise opening hours of 10:00am if you are not going to serve anything until 11:00.At this point, we should have given up and walked next door to Caravan, but foolishly decided to wait in the bar.There were loads of staff milling about with nothing useful to do, and only three customers other than ourselves.Why the owner employs so many serving staff at 10:00am when there are no customers until 11:00 is beyond me.We were then asked to make a reservation for 11:00.Why?There is nobody here…OK, deep breath, we make a reservation.“And your telephone number?”Really?We are going to be sat in your bar, 10 metres away, surely you won’t be calling us?OK, here’s our number. We sit in the bar for half an hour listening to the overly loud easy-listening musack, then approached reception again at 2 minutes before 11:00, expecting to be seated.“Sorry, the tables are not ready yet.”Well, none of your heard of staff have done anything in the dining area for the last 30 minutes and it looks no different now to how it looked when we arrived, and all the tables are laid.What exactly isn’t ready?Never mind, we take a seat again for another 5 minutes.Then we are finally shown to our table, the young man apologises for the wait, and we decide what we want off the menu.Then nothing…Five minutes nothing: No waiter, no offer of drinks, no water, no service at all.There are plenty of staff, just don’t expect them to deign to actually serve you.They’re far too busy chatting amongst themselves and generally looking like a bunch of fashion poneys.Ten minutes, nothing.My partner now, is waving at staff, looking expectantly, and starting to fume.OK, we’ll give them another 5 minutes.Surely some one will arrive by then…Of course not!Oh look, a waiter has gone for water.That must be ours.Eh, no,the waiters are drinking it themselves while they chat.That’s our final cue to desert this service-free Hell Zone.Sorry, I can’t comment on the food never got that far.We complained, we left, we walked next door and heartbreakingly Caravan has a 30 minute wait.Possibly all the customers who know how rubbish the Grain Store is?People who want breakfast before 11:00am?Who knows?But, it was only a short walk down the road to Vinoteca, who serve breakfast from 10:00am, to be reminded of everything that the Grain Store gets wrong.We are warmly greeted at the door, shown straight to our table, water arrives, drinks orders are taken, the waitress returns with our food order; and within 10 minutes we are sat down enjoying breakfast.The waiters/waitresses have obviously been trained and look like waiting staff, not out-of-work actors and models grudgingly forced into servitude at the Grain Store.Needless to say, we are never going there again.
Always have great veggie options here. Bruno is so smart in monetising Monday nights with special guest events too. Love it wish I had time to go there more as menu is quite seasonal, the way it should be!
Booked well in advance to get a table as I’d heard so many good things about this place and wasn’t disappointed. Lovely setting, good buzz and attentive staff. Everything I ate was tasty. There was a good choice for vegetarians and they were happy to adapt dishes to suit allergies. The Coconut & Kaffir lime green tapioca, sweet potato, banana crisp desert was amazing. A vegan treat.
Thoroughly enjoyed my meal at Grain Store. Found the food to be really unique and something different, incredible flavours. Plenty of very healthy yet satisfying options. Wasn't particularly blown away by the cocktails or the atmosphere but it was a Thursday lunch time. Reasonable prices for the quality
Located right next to the colourful Granary Square fountains, this place lives up to all the associated expectations! Comfortable interiors, well spaced-out seating, natural light and a view into the open kitchen give you the perfect experience of a summer brunch or a laid back dinner.
The menu offered a variety of choices, but I went for the Lobster Tortellini from their Specials. The small portion was enough for me for an early dinner and would work extremely well with a side of bread or cheese. My friend ordered the Quail, which was delicious. Our server was total delight and made the experience even better. She helped us chose best options for our taste preferences, and gave excellent inputs about pairing the right dishes.
Do try out Grain Store if you are around, and ask the servers what might work best for you.
Sadly the "bold gambles" that the Time Out review talks of did not "pay off" the night I went here. I had tried to book several times before because we had the most delicious canapés at a private party there. We finally got a table a couple of nights ago but I was bitterly disappointed by the food and embarrassed that I had suggested it to the friends we went with. I was not attracted to much on the menu - it all sounded like it was trying too hard and indeed it was.
That said, the pea mousse tartlet was delicious but there was not one other dish that any of the six of us liked. The tamale was bland - corn leaves filled with a tasteless salsa with watery corn, and a small piece of very fatty pork belly. The overpriced dashi was a watery soup with some bits of seaweed and pasta floating in it - not at all interesting and quite unpleasant. The ravioli was a few ravioli around a pile of leaves.
The deserts could have saved the day but while the rhubarb mess was delicious, the pastry on the tart of the day was soggy and the chocolate sorbet was quite unpleasant, earthy and not at all chocolatey. The fruit sorbets were fine but we avoided the weird choices for the ice-cream having experienced the rest of the menu.
At those prices I would expect something special but this was dire. We won't be going there again.
Booked a table for the Grain Store via Opentable and they were expecting us when we arrived. We luckily picked one of the only bright sunny afternoons of the year and were able to sit outside on the terrace in the blazing sunshine. The tables, chairs, crockery, napkins etc were all very stylish and appealing. Our waiter was calm and friendly, but non intrusive. We ordered a main and 2 starters to share and arrive altogether which they did, along with 2 glasses of prosecco. The food was mouth-wateringly good. We enjoyed every morsel. We didn't order coffees or desserts and the lunch came to well over £50 which was a little steep. But a nice treat, especially as we felt as though we were somewhere near the Mediterranean!
I'm not normally one to write restaurant reviews but after an amazing meal I felt compelled to show my appreciation. Every course from the starters to dessert was something different that I had not tried before. Seasonal fresh food, nothing stodgy, not too 'modern European' thankfully, much more flavoursome and inventive. A real treat to go out for dinner and go home full but without that bloated guilty feeling. We were served by the same waiter all evening who took time to explain the dishes and made sure we were always well taken care of. Thank you:)
Large plastic and metal strip found inside the ravioli......the waitresses reaction....''i'll bring you another plate''.
It is a shame that I cannot give The Grain Store a negative star rating.
My family and I went there for lunch on Monday 10th August, having previously heard good things and being my parents last meal in London before they flew back home, i was looking forward to having some excellent food and service.
However, when my mother started coughing and then slowly pulled out a 5cm long metal and plastic strip out of her mouth that was INSIDE the ravioli we all panicked. We immediately told the waitress, who instead of offering that my mother have something else from the menu all she said was ''i'll bring you another plate''. We were shocked! No compensation was offered, no apology, just a replacement of the same dish!!!
When the bill came, YUP! You guessed it.....the ravioli was on it!
We paid and left, without tipping, but it really soured my last meal with my folks before they headed off to the airport. Won't be eating there again!
P.S.....Don't order the duck either, it was so dry and chewy, it was like rubber.
Enjoyed a lovely Friday lunch with the wife. Bagged a table outside over-looking the Piazza. Currently the view is spoiled slightly by the building work opposite but once this is all finished it will be a great spot for Alfresco dining and the sound and site of young families enjoying the fountain rounded off the summer ambiance. Food was very imaginative and looked and tasted fantastic and the waitress was extremely friendly and helpful. Look forward to eating here again.
I always find myself taking people here when they visit London. The combination of an expansive and well designed space and delicious food always seems to impress. I've been many times and am always impressed by the changing menu. Good options for vegetarians and hard to go past the homemade breads to start. Can get pretty noisy in the busiest times but seems to add to the vibe with an open kitchen and big warehouse style space. Also nice to be in Granary Square and centrally located which can also be ideal.
I had been waiting for the chance to visit Grain Store since it opened. As a vegetarian, I was excited to see what they had to offer, as a restaurant that focused its menu on vegetables and winning Sustainable Restaurant of the Year. We visiting for Saturday Brunch, I ordered the Yoghurt and Chickpea Pancake with Jalapeño Salsa. The dish was bland, and over priced at £9.50. My boyfriend had a better experience with this meal having the Chicken served on a English Muffin (though not very vegetable focused). Service was ok, his sides accompanying his meal were served almost at the end of finishing the main unfortunately. And when we asked if the chicken was free range, the waiter replied "does it matter". Not really the response we were hoping for my an apparently sustainable restaurant. Overall, very disappointed with the vegetarian options. I probably won't be visiting again.
I ate here a couple of weeks ago, after Caravan next door was full. The main course I had was interesting and nice, but so small I could have finished in 90 seconds – so small that we went for tapas elsewhere afterwards. Considering the Grain Store isn't cheap, it worked out as an expensive evening! Our waitress was good, but the front of house were a little short with us for not having a booking. All in all, I didn't really 'get' this place – the menu, the decor, its positioning. I probably won't go back.
Been here twice now and both times great food and great service. In fact, the service on our first visit was so spectacular that I would almost say the best waiter I have ever had. So attentive without being over the top and an immaculate knowledge of the menu and each dish (I ask a LOT of questions as I love my food!). Every time I go there are so many options I want to try on the menu - will be coming back here for a long time. The ambiance is fabulous as well with a great layout and perfect for a lazy Sunday morning/afternoon.
The food was excellent. So much so we bought the cookbook afterwards. It was a fantastic way to spend a Sunday afternoon with friends. The only gripe we had was why were we initially denied a table even though there were empty tables (which is extra strange considering Sunday is no-booking - or did I understand this wrong?)
I was slightly wary about venturing into salubrious Kings Cross en familie to a birthday lunch at Bruno Loubet's newest culinary addition, 'The Grain Store'. It was not only the location but the veggie heavy menu (not a ' kids menu ' in sight) that vexed me. Thankfully my preconceived ideas were misplaced and I was enlightened to the wonders of Granary Square. This area has been given a complete industrial makeover London style, with popping fountains that move to the beat (big hit with the kids) , luxurious fake grass and benches by the canal side, an abundance of deck-chairs and 2 fabulous restaurants side by side (one being The Grain Store, the other Caravan). The Grain store is a cavernous space with a high end, industrial chic interior and an impressive open kitchen. On a warm day the atmosphere and tables spill out onto the square giving us a London version of a Roman piazza. Staff and service create a trendy, relaxed but accommodating feel. There is a mysterious music man in the corner of the bar playing an old piano which adds to the eclectic feel of the place. I understand there is also a superb bartender that makes savoury cocktails, unfortunately I could not indulge at the time. Back to the food, initially I thought there was a distinct lack of fodder for carnivores but look harder and you will be rewarded. We had a hearty, rustic rabbit pie, all buttery with melting bunny meat. But, this place is about the might of the vegetable and sated any meaty need. Highlights included a pretty sweet salmon and melon salad, moreish cornbread, lush chilli con veggie, creamy risotto and interesting combinations of vegetables and spices from around the globe. Our kids happily munched on risotto, chips and veg. Desserts were light and delicious, spiced candied tomatoes and panna cotta topped a pleasing meal. The menu is exciting and novel and is based on Bruno's travels around the world. This restaurant and location heralds a new era of cuisine, architecture and London life.
Great interior, shame about the staff. Foodwise it was average - ordered the pancakes as recommended by TO and found them to be dry and bland - if you want great American Style pancakes I would go anywhere but here!
I recently ate here for the first time as I work around the area, to put it simply: Food - really tasty and amazing value for money. They have a great selection of dishes - we tried more than 6 dishes and there were no complaints. All of us were quite impressed, Venue - really nice and spacious. There is no elbow to elbow seating here, and even in such an expansive space they have manged to make it homey with all the scattered knickknacks. Service - some of the worst in London. Our waitress was amazing and extremely courteous. However, the restaurant manager and receptionist/want to be restaurant manager were appalling - by the end of the night we had been sneered at, scolded, and told that we should be thankful for even getting a table. This really would have been one of my new go to places for friends and clients but after my experience with specific staff members its officially on my never again list. Its unfortunate, my recommendation to the restaurant would be to invest to better trained staff as they are driving customers away with their attitude.
I went with a group of 6 for a friend's birthday dinner. The food was absolutely impeccable (we went for the Surprise tasting menu and plenty of drinks- excellent value), the service however left much to be desired. Our server was good. We were told that we had an hour and a half at our table and that we may be asked to move if we're late- we were more than happy to comply. Before ordering we had asked our server whether we could order the tasting menu given the time that we had for our table- we were assured that it would be plenty of time. We finished each course promptly as it arrived (the food was so good that it didn't take long to disappear). At 9:45, who we assumed to be the manager of the restaurant arrived at our table and asked why we were still there when we were suppose to have given up the table at 9 (we were still waiting on 2 courses) and why had we ordered more food (which we hadn't) and what was she going to do with us- she then left exasperated (we found out later that it was the person at reception named Caroline?). The manager of the restaurant and Caroline(?) returned and told us to quickly to move to another table. The manager then went on to "scold" our server in front of us. As you can imagine this was a pretty awkward situation and we told them that we were happy to move and had been anticipating it since 9. When we paid our bill we gave our server a generous tip, thanked her and apologised if we had put her in trouble with her manager. She was extremely considerate and in turn apologised for the behaviour of Caroline(?). As we were about to leave, the manager came to our table and said that he had heard that our table had a complaint about the move (we naively expected some form of apology). When my friend clarified that we weren't upset by the move but rather the mannerism in which we were moved, the manager actually told my friend to be quiet and "please let him finish". The manager then carried on to say that he appreciated us taking the tasting menu but that had meant that we had overstayed on our table and had to be moved and that he had 45 staff to manage and hence will always side with his staff, before finishing with a happy birthday to my friend. We were stunned. Needless to say we will be thinking very hard before returning (earlier my friends and I had thought of taking our clients for lunches etc there- very unlikely we'll be doing that now)
I have not eaten food as good as this since I was in Bordeaux at the wine show, excellent food, and a real joy to eat here. What a plus for London a chef who can really cook.
Excellent food - everything is cooked to perfection and beautifully presented without being pretentious. The drinks list was spot on, with an interesting variety of cocktails and a decent wine list. The staff are attentive, friendly and knowledgeable and the setting is very nice. An great new restaurant - and reasonably priced too; would definitely recommend!