The Grain Store

Endive and Roquefort Salad with Smoked Pepper Jelly and Hazelnuts

Endive and Roquefort Salad with Smoked Pepper Jelly and Hazelnuts

Green beans, herbs, endives, and pears are dressed in a sherry vinaigrette, sprinkled with Roquefort and toasted nuts, and drizzled with piquant pepper jelly in this salad from The Grain Store in London.Moe Kafer

I enjoy breakfast and lunch far too much to mash them together. This, and the fact that I don't do restaurants on weekends (too crowded, too noisy), means that I am not what one would call a brunch fan. So when my vegetarian friend asked me to join him for brunch at a place called The Grain Store (did I note I'm also a serious carnivore?), I was anything but thrilled. Then I entered Bruno Loubet's airy London restaurant and exhaled. Sipping one of the foxiest little eye-openers I've ever had—white grenache with smoked paprika cordial—I browsed the menu, which trots the globe and puts vegetables first; several dishes include meat but always as a garnish, never the main event. I ordered a French classic—endive, pear, and Roquefort salad—brilliantly nudged off-center by smoked pepper jelly and roasted hazelnuts; and then a smoky corn and quinoa tamale with salsa and a chunk of slow-roasted, sticky pork belly. For him, roasted beets with pink grapefruit, gherkins, grated bottarga and mustard oil; and kimchi-and-potato dumplings in a lobster broth. Every dish came off as a thrilling little constellation of textures and tones—a dash of acidity here, a funky umami base note there—right down to the horseradish ice cream with strawberry balsamic jam for dessert. Loubet's sassy vegetable-focused cooking sure has a lot of meat on its bones.

The Grain Store
Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street
King's Cross, London
4/20/7324-4466

Alexander Lobrano is a SAVEUER contributing editor.