While the fare served up at The Zetter tends to be of a carnivorous bent, Grain Store has more of an emphasis on vegetarian-friendly ingredients. Meat and fish are still available - and make an appearance in dishes of stuffed chicken wings, sticky rice and kimchi cabbage and chilled lobster Bloody Mary – but vegetables, for once, receive equal billing on a well-rounded menu.
Though Bruno Loubet tends to be looked upon as a quintessentially French chef, he is well-travelled and well-versed in the language of many cuisines. Grain Store provides him with the chance to show it: there are far-flung ingredients on show, as well as local ingredients prepared with a twist. As ever with Loubet’s cooking, though, flavour is king.
Jay Rayner - writing in The Guardian - has described him as a ‘defibrillator made cheffly flesh’ for his ability to rejuvenate venues. So he is perfectly at home in Kings Cross, which is enjoying a rejuvenation of its own. The Kings Cross Project promises that ‘45,000 people will soon live, work or study in the newly created apartments, offices, shops and University that make up the site’s 67 acres’.
Grain Store is a good addition to the area, sitting next to The Regent’s Canal (in the same building as St Martins) it seats 120 people, with 80 covers available on the square outside - making it a prime al fresco spot. The interior – which was designed by the acclaimed Russell Sage - attempts to capture the notion of an ‘exploded kitchen’. In effect this means an interesting blurring of the lines between kitchen and dining room – with preparations taking place right in front of the customers.
“This is the restaurant I have dreamt of opening for years and the time really feels right now,’ Bruno Loubet has said. I love meat and could never give it up entirely, but the endless opportunities that focusing on vegetables allows me – the colours, flavours, layers and textures – are so exciting.”