Granger & Co, the restaurant chain from celebrated Australian chef Bill Granger, opened its first UK outlet a couple of years ago in Notting Hill. The famous name, the food quality and the restaurant’s location all contributed to a successful launch. So much that in the past year Bill Granger has opened two more outlets in London: Clerkenwell in 2014 and recently Kings Cross.
The Clerkenwell restaurant is just a few minutes away from where my old office was, so I have been there a few times for to grab a coffee. Their Aussie style cortado and flat white (with Allpress beans) are very good and at the counter there is always a selection of pastries and cakes to fulfill the needs of Granger & Co typical customers: office workers from nearby advertising agencies and architecture firms.
Granger & Co is in fact located on the first floor of an office block in a fashionable and eclectic neighbourhood that is home to creative types and foodies. The restaurant fits right in this environment, with a modern and large space, high ceilings, large windows, marble counters and brass detailing.
“With Granger & Co Clerkenwell I wanted to create, not just an inviting spot where you can relax, dine and indulge, but also something a bit different. The area is a creative hub so I wanted to inject some glamour into the restaurant, while at the same time keeping things classic. Climbing the stairs into the bright, airy restaurant, an array of freshly baked tarts, cakes and slices are laid out on a terrazzo slab. Tall windows look out over treetops and 1960s Italian lamps create a soft glow in the evening. This is a place for sharing small dishes and pizzettas over a cocktail, or two.” [Bill Granger]
It’s a great place for client meetings or office lunches. However what Granger & Co is mostly famous for is the weekend brunch! A few Sundays ago I was in Clerkenwell specifically to try Granger & Co’s brunch menu with the IG Brunch Club, a gathering of Instagrammers I co-founded last year.
On that occasion I finally tasted Bill Granger’s classics, the dishes that have made him so famous in his native Sydney, in Tokyo (where he has four joints), Hawaii, Seoul and London:
– the Ricotta hotcakes, with banana & honeycomb butter
– the Full Aussie – creamy scrambled eggs, sourdough toast, bacon, cumin roast tomato, miso chestnut mushrooms, chipolatas
We booked a table for 11:30 on a Sunday morning. When I arrived the restaurant was still fairly quiet, but it soon got busy as lunch time approached. I would definitely recommend booking in advance if you are planning to visit for brunch on a weekend.
I had a great time catching up with my friends, especially since I had missed the June meet-up and not seen the gang in a while. As usual at the IG Brunch Club, we waited until the dishes were served at our table to get up from our seats and start moving plates and cups around. We are always looking for the best light and composition! Even if it means causing odd looks or giggles from the nearby tables! ;)
We all ordered the hotcakes and full aussie, which I have to say are both really delicious! I loved the thick and soft pancakes, made with big chunks of ricotta (you can find the recipe of Top with Cinnamon blog).
And let me tell you: those creamy scrambled eggs are something else, you have to try them! No wonder they have been described as the best scrambled eggs in the world!
Apparently the secret to getting their soft, mousse-like texture, is to fold the egg and cream mixture very very slowly. I am sure you will find a tutorial on YouTube for that, but I’d much rather go to Granger & Co and taste the original!
I also ordered a bowl of Bill’s granola with coconut yoghurt & fruit compote. The granola was sweet and nutty and irresistible (although the dish itself could benefit from a bit more yoghurt).
The restaurant manager kindly offered us drinks, a glass of Prosecco on arrival and these rosemary-infused cocktails made with Regal Rogue Bianco Vermouth. Sadly I wasn’t feeling very well that day so I steered clear from the alcohol, but it all looked very pretty!
I went to Granger & Co without big expectations, as during my previous visits I thought the restaurant was a bit cold and lacking atmosphere. To be fair though, I had always ever been to Granger & Co on weekday mornings. The restaurant is so large that it benefits from the weekend crowd.
On a Sunday at brunch time the restaurant is lively (though never noisy) and the atmosphere is warmer. The service was good and the food was excellent. The Full Aussie and Ricotta Hotcakes were nothing short of perfect, as you would expect from two classic dishes that have made a brand name popular all over the world. I am still thinking about them, weeks on, and I will definitely go back for more soon!
Have you been to Granger & Co yet? What did you think?