While not a vegetarian restaurant, the Grain Store aimed to invert menu norms and allow the vegetables to take precedence over meat and fish. The menu contains a lot more vegetarian (not to mention vegan) options than one might expect to find in many London restaurants of this standard, but even in the meat dishes – flageolet and broad bean casserole with rabbit sausage, kimchi-buttered endive with sea trout – meat and fish happily play second fiddle to exquisitely prepared vegetables and grains.
In part inspired by his childhood – with meat only really on the menus on the weekend, the Loubet family learnt to be clever with their vegetables, something the chef views in retrospect as “a privilege” – the Grain Store also reflects Bruno Loubet’s move towards ethical, sustainable eating. Beef in particularly is a no-go on the menu given the destructive nature of the bovine industry (it takes approximately 10kg of grain to produce 1kg beef) and the research into the impact of the food industry the chef undertook before opening the Grain Store inspired his wife to cut meat and dairy from her diet completely.
Rather than exploit the capital’s appetite for his original approach to ingredients the Grain Store’s menus offer real value for money – as the chef told the Guardian, the restaurant “isn’t about steaming some vegetables, throwing on a little extra-virgin olive oil and charging 20 quid” – and the Michelin Guide awarded the venue “Bib Gourmand” status. Fresh, ethical and above all original, the menu is a testament to Bruno Loubet’s personal ethos, as well as his skill.
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