I have to start this blog-post with a confession.
Let me explain.
I always assumed (wrongly) that Grain Store was a vegetarian restaurant. Not that there is anything wrong with that - it's just always been lower on my priorities list because I am one hell of a carnivore.
Well it turns out that the head chef Bruno Loubet is on a mission to celebrate vegetables, making them the star of the plate, without completely banishing meat from his menu. Which means everyone is happy, right?
I was invited down as part of OpenTable's 'Transatlantic Tables' project. In an effort to celebrate dining experiences on both sides of the pond, OpenTable (the restaurant bookings site) were putting on two different meals, in London and New York, at the same time.
We were dining at Bruno's Grain Store while our buddies in New York were played host to by Ayesha Nurdjaja at Hundred Acres - a clever concept right?
There were around 30 or so of us eager foodies packed into the gorgeous Kings Cross restaurant, eager for food, conversation and Campari cocktails.And what a restaurant it is. Everything in the Grain Store is gorgeous. It's a bright, airy dining room, filled with wild flowers, rustic brushed metals and long wooden tables.
Even the wine at Grain Store is designed to be beneficial to the environment. They operate a 'Smart Tap' facility in which the wines are stored in bags inside wooden kegs to mimic winery conditions - once the keg is finished, it goes out with recycling!
They believe wines from a keg taste brighter and fresher than those from a bottle and they represent extraordinary value for money.
Food-wise, we started the evening with Atlantic Kitchen seaside toast with seaweed butter, oyster and borage leaves, flower, pickled samphire and cucumber served on potato bread.
One of those dishes which had it been on an a-la-carte menu, I would never have ordered - but was so delicate, pretty and surprisingly tasty that I really enjoyed. Just the right amount of salt to cut through the rich, creamy flavours of the butter - a really good start to the menu ahead!
The surprises didn't stop there. The pasta course, a seemingly simple dish of vegetable Ravioli ended up being one of the most interactive of the evening.
Each delicate parcel was created using a different vegetable, including beet, butternut squash, spinach and herb, tomato carrots and peppers, drawing mixed opinion from the table on their favourites (mine was the beetroot!).
The light tomato consume was also one of the most beautiful things I've tasted. You'd never imagine the amount of flavour they managed to pack into that light, translucent broth.
Now I told you there was meat! Not just any meat though - perfectly cooked slices of seared Venison. Served with vegetables pickle in a raspberry vinegar and grilled Squash and a gorgeous glass of Au Bon Climat Pinor Noir.
Finally, the Peach Melba dessert was ridiculously good. Huge juicy peaches, with raspberries and vanilla ice cream and the daintiest sugar work! A perfect way to conclude a brilliant meal
Overall a really fab restaurant and such an eye-opener to have vegetables presented as the star of the show and meat treated as a bonus option. I'm so pleased I finally got the chance to dine here, a real opinion changer!
I had to dash off before the end of the meal so missed out on the competition briefing but there were some really fab entries - particularly from the lovely Stacey and Connie, make sure you take a read!
Granary Square, 1-3 Stable St, London N1C 4AB
* I was a guest of OpenTable.
All food/drink was complimentary
All food/drink was complimentary