September 15, 2012 local produce, Old Town, risotto 3 Comments

It has been an epic week of dining. In chronological order, we’ve dined at Wedgwood, La Piazza, Union of Genius, The Bonham, Mithas, Mark Greenaway and the Old Bell.


When it came to adding a cherry on the top of that marvellous cake, the Grain Store, on Victoria Street seemed to be an ideal candidate, and so it proved.

Situated in a spot where you might reasonably expect something of a tourist trap, the Grain Store is smart, unassuming, and profoundly rewarding. And their lunchtime menu, with two courses for £12.50, offers some of the best value in the city.

Today’s lunchtime revellers were Yelp’s Jenny, and noted military historian Patrick.

Salmon starter

The menu offers a pretty good selection. We pondered for a good minute or two, before settling upon our choices. There wasn’t any soup (quelle horreur!), so I opted for a salad, with black pudding and salmon the choices of Jenny and Patrick. To follow, there was duck and risotto.


Our waiter exuded a relaxed confidence that was very in keeping with the place. Everything was understated, but on the understanding that things were to a standard of excellence.

These qualities were more than reflected in the starters. My salad was a thing of beauty. Each element of the dish provided flavour in abundance, with notes arranged in choral harmony across the breadth of the dish. My fellow lunchers were similarly impressed with their choices.

Goat's cheese salad

Mains were, if anything, better. The confit duck looked seriously good, with the sweet potato mash looking and tasting quite tremendous. The mushroom-topped risotto, so replete with oozing verdant freshness, was a delight. There was a palpable sense of care, accuracy, and precision that was a joy to see and taste.

Given where we were, we decided that post-prandial coffee was best taken at Hula, just a few doors down, so we asked for the bill, then paid with three separate cards, in the modern style.


So overall, the Grain Store was mighty impressive. It served dishes of real quality, full of beautiful, locally sourced ingredients, in a completely unpretentious way. It’s precisely the place to bring people if you’re looking to impress with your taste and refinement. I’ll be trying to pull of that trick with the next set of unsuspecting victims that choose to pay me a visit.

Blythe scores The Grain Store
4/5 for food
4.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 16.5/20

Today’s questers were: Jenny, Patrick, Blythe

We ate: black pudding, hot smoked salmon, goat’s cheese salad, duck, risotto (2)

We drank: water

We wore: simple lunchtime elegance

Total bill: £37.50

The Grain Store on Urbanspoon

Written by BKR