Caprice Holdings is the mastermind group behind Sexy Fish, J Sheekey and The Ivy Collection, and late last year they opened Granary Square Brasserie. Known for their flamboyant atmosphere and well dressed dishes across the board, I rumbled through my wardrobe for a fancy-looking outfit and paid them a visit to suss out how sophisticated this new family member was.
Granary Square Brasserie is a few minute’s stroll from King’s Cross Station and you’d easily spot it thanks to the significantly-sized alfresco area outfront. Draped in fluffy throws and displaying seating perfect for soaking up vitamin D on a summer’s day, I thundered into the restaurant’s reception to check my coat, curse winter for the billionth time and regain some feeling in my fingers.
From the painted walls and the overhead pipework to the velvet banquettes, Granary Square Brasserie was just like me on the night I visited, decadently dressed - but in a beautiful royal blue. Framed illustrations of exotic animals were carefully nailed to most walls and greenery in the form of hanging ivy and tall plants were strewn in spaces from the bathroom to the restaurant itself. Not strictly sticking to blue; plays on olive green and mustard were folded into the mix through other furnishings and the sunset orange seats lining the gold-topped bar.
Colour schemes aside, the interiors here inherited a hand from art deco influences with grand chandeliers dangling from the ceiling, gilded mirrors adorning the walls and parquet flooring spanning the length of the entire restaurant. This luxurious setting coupled with the buzzy atmosphere sold Granary Square Brasserie as a timeless place, where conversations flow like wine and catching the last tube home is the only way to end your night.
The Food and Drinks
The evening I visited Granary Square Brasserie, nothing jumped out from the menu. I was, at a push, left juggling between two starters and ended up ordering the crispy duck salad (£7.95), and my company the wild mushrooms on toasted brioche (£7.95). Pleasantly surprised, the duck was sensational, wrapped in five spice dressing with a sprinkling of toasted cashews, chunks of watermelon, bean sprouts, coriander and ginger, all in one giant mountainous pile. The contrast in textures and juicy bursts from the watermelon elevated the dish, preventing it from becoming weighed down to one dominant flavour.
The same situation crept up with mains; I was left struggling to find something to order, but was - once again - left nodding vigorously from my first mouthful. The shrimp burger (£15.95) was topped with creamy avocado and fiery rocoto chilli mayonnaise, with a potion of thick cut chips (that I demanded be doused in truffle oil and Parmesan cheese). Well seasoned and generous in portion, my former co-worker ordered the slow-roasted lamb shoulder (£16.95). Accompanied with creamed potato, roasted root vegetables, mustard, parsley and shallot crust with a garlic and rosemary sauce, it was one of the most comforting mains on the menu.
As all good meals go, we made it to the ‘let me digest this’ stage and waited for a few minutes before taking on the chocolate bomb (£8.50) and the crème brûlée (£6.50). The chocolate bomb was an all round indulgent dessert, melted down to show a sphere of honeycomb after a generous pouring of warm salted caramel sauce from our waiter. Silky smooth and temporarily gluing my mouth shut with every scoop, who ever knew such small balls could bring such big joy?
Drink-wise, I opened the night with the GSB Manhattan (£10.50). It married Woodford Reserve bourbon, Warre’s LBV ruby port, Angostura bitters and one of my favourite ingredients rarely used in Manhattan twists - maple syrup. Heady enough to last you more than your average cocktail, this take on the classic was smooth and sweet. My dinner date ordered The Nuts (£8.50), which was a bit of a let down. Curated with vanilla infused vodka, espresso and Frangelico hazelnut foam, the espresso took the reins to the point where you’d wonder if any booze was invested in the drink.
Is Granary Square Brasserie in the same lane as the other Caprice Holdings offsprings? You betcha. The art deco tints and vibrant uses of colour make the restaurant a sight for sore eyes, and although I thought the menu a little bit boring at first glance, it proved me sorely wrong. From the taste bud-pleasing starters to the glorious chocolate bomb dessert that I have a video of and refuse to delete, I’ll be recommending this place to anyone who'll listen.