THE BEGINNING – A FORTUITOUS SURPRISE
It was a grey and typical Saturday morning, and the Queen Supreme, also better known as my mother, was spending her last weekend in London, and it happened to be the day Adam got the great news that he had passed through to become an Officer Cadet! The natural thought process was to take her and Adam for brunch, for her favourite meal of the day. She is a formidable individual to please, so with military calculation I organised for us to venture to King’s Cross. The area (Granary Square) is artsy, clean and modern thanks to the art college right on site, which my rather OCD mother was a fan of; and hence my point of attack was Caravan, a boasting weekend brunch haven. I had visited Caravan nearly a year ago with my brother and good friend Lizzie on a late Monday morning when I was a vegetarian for Lent, and had fond memories of the food there – however, my experience on this particular busy Saturday morning was severely blazé and disappointing, mostly due to the apathetic attitude displayed by the hostesses poised at the entrance. We were informed that it was an hour’s wait, and yet when we enquired about waiting by the bar, the hostess replied with a ‘You can try…or you can just order a takeaway and walk around…’. Our take on her response was that our experience of dining at their establishment was clearly not something that they were terribly concerned with. We exited the dark and windowless restaurant swiftly and clocked a restaurant next door.
The lack of commotion just from glancing on the exterior had given me the impression that it was closed for the weekend. Upon closer inspection, we saw there were in fact people eating inside. We took a look at the menu and took the chance to try out this place. There was a pretty wide selection of vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free options that sounded less pretentious in comparison to most ‘healthy’ restaurants and cafés. We were also starving as it was noon by this time…
Wheat-Free Bread | Olive Oil Dip
Relatively skeptical when ordering this amuse bouche before our starters and mains, I really enjoyed this warm stick of wheat-free bread that had been kneaded with what I think to be cardamom seeds. It definitely satiated my hunger nicely till the starters arrived. Notably, I know that I prefer the crust of the bread in comparison to its soft fluffy insides normally, which is probably why I enjoyed the denser texture of this bread. So if you like how bread folds as you bite into it, this is not a texture you are going to like as much as I did.
As someone who thinks that dining out restricts the amount of hearty and wholesome greens that is available in restaurants, I really enjoyed this starter. The grilled broccolini had a smoky flavour from the grill, and when dipped into the creamy parmesan mousse and rolled around in the deep fried anchovies – the combined taste of salty and crunchy was refreshing. Even my dubious mother had to agree that it was really, really good.
Admittedly, it was the miso aubergine in this dish that really tied the entire combination of ingredients together. It is spread on the bottom of the plate, so I would recommend that you mix the sprouting seeds and beans together with the miso aubergine paste before trying it – or you just get quite crunchy and bland tasting grass. I may or may not have used the wheat-free bread to scrape up any remnants of that miso aubergine paste before Adam could…
Yoghurt and Chickpea Pancake | Avocado | Tomato and Jalapeño Salsa
This was the best dish. Mainly because the intense flavour and heat from the garlic and jalapeño in the avocado and salsa mixture was balanced perfectly with the mildly tart taste of the pancake (and with its crispy exterior, and light and fluffy interior). This is definitely no ordinary vegetarian dish. I tend to love my eggs in the morning (or anytime really), and I would add a poached egg to pretty much any dish I eat; however this mélange of ingredients pretty much punches you in the taste buds in the best way possible. If you generally love your meats for breakfast, this dish I believe will leave you not caring that there was a lack of a meat protein-based breakfast meal. But if you really craved more – there is an option to add a spicy merguez sausage.
Potato Pancake | Sour Cream Leeks | Poached Duck Egg | Tobiko Wasabi Caviar
I recommend you ask for some freshly sliced chilies to add to this. Not because it is bland, but that it allows contrast in the flavour to allow you to enjoy the creamy texture of the potato pancake against the tart sour cream leeks and creamy yolk of the duck egg. I believe that the tobiko wasabi caviar is supposed to give some added heat to the dish (much like my recommendation of the chilies), but it hasn’t got enough kick to it to do so. Definitely recommend you try this dish and ask for fresh sliced chili on the side. Don’t add too much, and best try to avoid the seeds and or white bits of the chili, or you’ll end up with duck lips to match your delicious duck egg.
Green Matcha Latté
Soy Milk | Matcha Green Tea
I am terribly weary of these. There tends to be added sugar and the tendency to mix too much has founded my mistrust in this beverage. At the time, I was in between not wanting a coffee and also not wanting an alcoholic brunch beverage, so this was my best bet. And it has restored my faith in the drink. Perhaps I won’t order it in more generic places such as Starbucks or whatnot, but I would definitely drink it at the Grain Store again.
THE ENDING – SERENDIPITOUS SATURDAY BRUNCH AND DEFINITELY A BETTER OPTION THAN CARAVAN, NOT ONLY FOR THE FOOD BUT ALSO FOR THE AMAZING SERVICE, RELAXING ATMOSPHERE AND HAPPY & HELPFUL DEMEANOUR FROM THE STAFF.
Nathalie’s Rating: 4.9/5