Bruno Loubet

Bruno Loubet

Bruno Loubet

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 contained a lot more vegetarian (not to mention vegan) options than one might expect to find in many London restaurants of the same 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 played 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' – Grain Store also reflected Bruno’s move towards ethical, sustainable eating. Beef in particularly was 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 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 menu offered 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 was a testament to Bruno’s personal ethos, as well as his skill.

In August 2017, Bruno decided the time had come to close Grain Store, and he retired to Australia with his wife Catherine. The pair live on a farm in the Gold Coast hinterlands with their two dogs, and run Willow Vale Cooking School.

Three things you need to know

Bruno knew he wanted to be a chef from the age of ten, and he trained in Bordeaux before working in Brussels and Copenhagen

In 1982, Bruno performed his military service in the French Navy, working as a cook and a second master before heading to London to continue his career as a chef

His research surrounding meat and dairy production inspired him to refocus his food. It even convinced his wife Catherine to become vegan.