Last Updated on August 8, 2021
Eating Down Under in King’s Cross
There are restaurants in London I’ve intended to try for as long as they have been open. Granger & Co opened its first restaurant here way back in 2012 and, like any self-respecting Antipodean, surfed happily on the brunch trend and was part of the inspiration for a new generation of Londoners who switched their affection from a Sunday roast to Eggs Benedict or Avo on Sourdough in the blink of an eye. The Granger brunch is famous and it’s only my fear of an egg dominated menu that has stopped me from going along before. Amazingly, I picked one of the few sunny days in July to pop along for lunch and then lurked for just five minutes at the bar until I could snag a table outdoors.
Granger & Co is the sort of place I’d like to have on my doorstep. Inside, comfy contemporary leather banquettes line the room and tables are nicely spaced out. Stools at the bar would be perfect for a lone traveller or for anyone wanting to grab a coffee or a light bite to eat. Tables outside are perfect for al-fresco dining in the buzzing atmosphere of King’s Cross.
My friend and dining companion for the afternoon is something of a wine expert. The minute she was handed the wine list she got very excited indeed. It’s not a run-of-the-mill list that we had expected from what looks like a casual restaurant. As a result, we probably drank more than I’d normally do at lunchtime. But, it was worth celebrating our one day of summer – and the end of a long period of pandemic related restrictions. Indeed, we started with a glass each of something sparkling. Pet Nat Negrette Rosé for me, a natural sparkling pink wine that was crisp and fresh. My friend meanwhile had a glass of brut sparkling riesling from Clare Valley, South Australia. Both under £10 a glass, it was hard not to be tempted.
Two orders from the small plates section were intended as sharing starters, but if you were a little less greedy than us, I suspect you could easily pick one more and have an ample lunch. My favourite of the dishes, courgette chips, were coated in a tempura batter and fried so that they were light and crisp on the outside with a melting middle. The nigella seed and tahini yoghurt made a delicious and well-flavoured accompaniment.
Crudités with whipped avocado and yuzu pepper pretended to offer a healthy option, but the rich creamy avocado dip might just have suggested otherwise.
Where next for food? Granger & Co really is a great place for lunch or a light dinner and it was hard to pick from the menu. There are classic brunch dishes including poached eggs with smoked salmon, scrambled egg and a plate made up of sweet corn fritters, tomato, spinach and bacon to which you can add all sorts of extras. Salads sound fresh and inviting – there’s grilled turmeric chicken with an Asian twist, or a raw tuna and avocado poke. This isn’t the sort of place where anyone is going to go hungry!
On a chillier day, I’d definitely have edged towards the parmesan crumbed chicken schnitzel or possibly Bill’s coconut curry, but the sun was shining and although I was tempted by the salads, shrimp burger sounded almost healthy but a lot more indulgent. Since it came with aioli, a shaved radish salad and fries, my healthy intention might just have been wishful thinking on my part.
My companion ordered crab linguine with lemon, parsley and chilli – a dish she said she loved and ordered whenever she was out and saw it on the menu. Her generous portion came with plenty of crab in a rich sauce and she told me that it was well seasoned with just the right amount of kick.
We did also share a very healthy portion of asparagus, broccoli and edamame – perfectly cooked and nicely seasoned with a hint of lemon zest.
My companion was excited to have the chance of trying the Folle Blanche 2020 from Pierre Luneau Papin, based on a grape variety from the South West of France. It is apparently also used to make Armagnac. A crisp dry white with good acidity similar to Muscadet or Picpoul from the Languedoc it worked nicely with all the food we ordered and was a good pairing particularly with our mains. It was creamy but super dry, light, zesty, citrusy.
By the time we’d worked our way through the main courses, there was little space for dessert, but in the sweet section, there were a few tiny morsels. We ordered two raw bits and some dark chocolate pistachio fudge to go with our coffee. It was one of those perfect long, slow summer lunches with friends – no stress and a great ambience.
There are three other branches of Granger & Co in London – Notting Hill, Chelsea and Clerkenwell. Apparently, each has its own style and character. That’s a good enough excuse for me to make plans to try another one soon!
Granger & Co
7 Pancras Square
London N1C 4AG
Looking for something different? We love Anthony Demetre’s Vermuturia, a cafe and bar in Coal Drops Yard and can also recommend The Lighterman for a lively pub atmosphere. For a more formal dining experience in the area, how about Plum and Spilt Milk
Disclosure: We dined as guests of Granger & Co