As you’ve probably sussed by now, I’m a huge fan of a) brunch and b) discovering new places in London, so it stands to reason that any day that combines those things is rather a red-letter one for me. A couple weekends ago, starved for food, sunshine and excitement, I grabbed my good friends Claire and Cinzia and headed out to procure these things at the new Granary Square in North London, and one of its newest culinary attractions, Grainstore.
Granary Square is part of the huge, multi-billion development happening at King’s Cross right now. What was once an industrial wasteland next to Regent’s Canal has been transformed into an attractive, interactive public space, with some great food options to boot (more on those later). The square itself has been open since last summer, but this was the first time I’ve really had a chance to explore, camera in hand. Luckily, it was a beautiful day for it!
The square itself is a vast cobbled area, which was once an unloading bay for barges delivering their goods to the Victorian warehouse adjacent. That warehouse now houses the famous Central Saint Martins school of design, which must make a nice change for students and teachers (for decades the school, considered one of the top educational institutes for creative learning in the world, was housed in a comparatively small and dilapidated building on Charing Cross Road, and I always felt the disconnect whenever I walked by).
As to be expected, there were all kinds of arty people milling about, meeting friends, enjoying the weather watching the amazing “dancing fountains”. Cinzia and I become obsessed with these– the jet patterns were constantly changing, like music that you see instead of hear.
Above is the terrace of Granary Square’s other popular culinary destination, Caravan. I’ve been meaning to go with a friend of mine for months – difficult to sort when we’re both
such South Londoners so busy. Now that I’ve had a taste of this place, expect a visit here to be appearing soon, too.
At the far end of the square is a small copse of ultra-manicured trees with seating scattered underneath. The lack of grass and the coloured chairs reminded me a little bit of the Jardins du Luxembourg in Paris, though on a much smaller scale, of course.
But seriously you guys, the fountains. I took about one million photos of the jets, and Cinzia became obsessed with getting a good video of the action.
Soon enough it was time to stop photographing, and get some food in our bellies. This is where we were going; I would have loved to show you the interior as well (think industrial warehouse meets rustic French country, or go here for images), but Grainstore have a strict “no photography” rule inside, apart from the food itself. Don’t even get me started on how stupid I think those kinds of rules are…
Moving on! Since this was technically a lunch, and a late one at that, we decided to forgo the coffee and skip right to the booze. Cinzia’s Green Tomato Martini was one of the prettiest drinks I’ve seen, and my Bloody Mary was one of the tastiest (hence the lack of photographic evidence).
We were all delighted with our mains: I went for the flatbread with hummus, labneh and a poached egg, Cinzia for the rocket, courgette and broad bead frittata (which we all felt looked and tasted beautiful, but was perhaps a bit summery to appear on a menu in early November), and Claire for a rather posh welsh rarebit with spinach and onion jam.
Dessert was an apple, blackberry and elderflower crumble for me, and coconut tapioca pudding for Claire and Cinzia. The girls enjoyed theirs, but mine was definitely the star; it came with a scoop of olive oil ice cream which was out of this world, I’m telling you.
After digesting over mint tea and laughter, we rolled ourselves out the door, to find that evening had fallen while we were stuffing ourselves within. One plus to this: the fountains were now colourful!
All images © Eleanor Büsing