Grain Store: Rose. Al Fresco. In October

I have comfortably quaffed rose al fresco well into November on many occasions. In Mallorca. Never in London. Today, the sun is schplittin' the stones. Admittedly, I am wrapped up to the nines. But, the shades are on and the layers soon begin to shed as I leg it from Kings Cross to Granary Square, which, by the way, is delightful. Go. There. Now. Before everyone and their Grannie does. It's a whole day out; chow down on brekkie in Caravan and then roll next door for a long lunch. Why not.

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This lunch has been in the diary for some time. For a while, it is touch and go whether I'll make it, what with TFL lockdown and a high roller event to hoof onto in Newmarket, however, it is also my bro's birthday so I'm not missing it hell or high water. I arrive, perhaps a little frazzled, find Gary, and collapse on one of the benches outside leaving coats and scarves in my wake. A charming chap promptly shuffles over with cocktail menus. I like this place already. Yearning for the Truffle Martini, Mr Charming insists I try the Twinkle; hands down the girliest thing I've ever ordered.

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Needless to say, it went down like a homesick mole; far too fast. Gary's tempted by Death in Venice and I'd go back for Butter & Hay Champagne. Look, with 69 Colebrooke Row maestro Tony Conigliaro behind the tails, all of them are bound to be gold standard. In the midst of all this shaking, less baking, Lorna arrives. Huzzah, our wolf pack, for this lunch anyway, is complete.

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Our table is ready. But the last of the autumn rays are also crying out for attention. We settle on the terrace. A bottle of beautifully pale Provencal rose arrives. An ambitious call? Perhaps, but it had to be done, eternal optimist and all that.

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Things take a turn for the worse, and I'm not just talking about the weather, when I find out upon ordering the chilled clear lobster Bloody Mary starter that it is all gone for the day. Like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a HGV truck, I go for baked beets with goat labneh and dill oil dressing; and what transpires to be a bizarre combination of endive, pear, runner beans, roquefort, hazelnuts and smoked pepper jelly. The former was bang on, save the dill oil; the latter was a car crash.

Feeling the chill, we make a management decision to move the party inside. A winning move by all accounts. It's all hustle and bustle, but it works. The kitchen literally couldn't be any more open, which I am a fan of. And there are cosy little alcoves for tables of four or so. Very inviting. Thankfully, the mains are no correlation to what we began with. Gary's corn & quinoa tamale harks back to my days living in Ecuador, oh and it comes with sticky pork belly. The creamiest dhal lentils partner with sweet banana pepper (I need more of this in my life) and cooked-to-perfection sea bream; how Very Kerri! Lorna chows down on spiced mash with runner beans, broad beans and confit lamb belly. It would appear that moving indoors was a good call then.

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Kudos to Chef Bruno for giving the menu the ole switcheroo; the humble vegetable and grain enjoys a moment, leaving meat or fish as an afterthought, a well thought out afterthought, of course. There's a lot to go back for, even if it's just to be proven wrong about the starters. Can't wait!

Five Very Kerri things about Grain Store

  1. House cocktail and dish pairings
  2. Alcove-like thingys to sit at inside
  3. The charming team - great birthday plates!
  4. It makes veg fun, again
  5. The somewhat undiscovered vibe about Granary Square