In all but name, Granary Square Brasserie is a branch of the Ivy Café chain. As with other sites, the group has picked a stunning setting: a former grain store – once home to veg-championing Grain Store – on the corner of King’s Cross’s Granary Square. It’s as handsome as ever, a sprawl of different spaces, with the colourful yet classy vintage elegance of a Tiffany lamp.
The menu, as at other branches, is a play-it-safe line-up of bistro faves (fish ’n’ chips, chicken milanese, shepherd’s pie) plus a sprinkling of pan-Asian crowd-pleasers (tuna carpaccio, coconut duck curry).
But on my visit, the food was maddeningly inconsistent. The best two dishes came last. Frozen berries with warm white chocolate sauce – a Caprice Holdings signature – was as foolproof as ever; strawberry ice cream sundae was a touch oversweet, but otherwise excellent.
But too many dishes were underwhelming: prawn cocktail, normally a must-have, was let down by watery, metallic-tinged prawns and insufficient marie rose dressing. Steak tartare was underseasoned, a shrimp burger oversalted. The thick chips, however, were great. But they’re only chips.
Service was just as much of a roller-coaster: everyone was efficient, but some staffers were polite and obliging, while others were cold and slightly pushy. So: a bit of a mess. This is a place to come to if you’re all about the looks, which are undeniably lovely. And on a sunny day, the outside tables on the square are worth arriving early for. Just stick to snacks, sweets and spritzers.