I love the café culture that’s become London. When Grind first set up shop in Shoreditch in 2011, the public like myself, welcomed it with open arms. A coffee shop turn cocktail bar at night, focused on quality and good design? Well, it’s no wonder pub sales are down. Grind is now launching its 7th outpost, a 90-seat restaurant right at the entrance of Exmouth Market.
We popped in on a Wednesday evening, eager to try out the new dinner menu. Like the other venues, the menu features small plates, followed by larger plates, encouraging diners to share in the simple and wholesome food, inspired by Australian, New Zealand and South African dishes.
The cocktails are spot on at the Grind with the usual classics: Grind Espresso Martini, Hot Flat White Russian, Negroni amongst others. We settled for a Clover Club and an Exmouth Market original, Orange Blossom, a stirred concoction of bourbon, amaro, crème de bergamot, and orange flower water. All cocktails are priced at a very reasonable £8.50.
Sharing three starters and two large plates seemed sensible. Our server suggested we not miss the Chorizo-stuffed dates, wrapped with pancetta, with a side of yoghurt (£6). This was a beautiful dish – the spicy sausage, balanced with the sweetness of the dates and the cool of the yoghurt. While I personally found it a bit rich, my date seemed to enjoy every morsel, and I can see why.
The grilled octopus with fennel, grapefruit and white beans (£8) was far more to my liking. Fresh, fruity, zingy, seasoned, my only wish was that it came as an option of a larger plate and that would make the perfect lunch salad. The burrata with heritage beetroot, pistachio and ciabatta (£7) was another winner, so fresh and light, without compromising on flavour and texture.
For our larger plates, we opted for the 8-hour lamb shank with spiced sweet potato, coriander raita and almonds (£16) as suggested by our server and the burnt aubergine with tahini, nuts and seeds (£9).
My date enjoyed the lamb shank, but having built up such a wonderful crescendo of the flavourful and innovative small plates, he felt this was much more comfort food, but done well, nonetheless. The aubergine was soft with a smoky finish having been roasted in skin. It was a lovely dish, but would have benefited from a touch more tahini and a lashing of oil.
At this point, I had ordered the Tommy’s margarita, my taste buds craving something sour and tangy to balance the heaviness of the lamb and aubergine. I must add that as an avid drinker of margaritas, the bartender at this Grind created one of the best I’ve tasted in London.
We took our server’s suggestions again for dessert and went for the hot apple crumble sundae and the chocolate parfait with espresso streusel espresso and hazelnuts (both £6).
Together with an esperesso, both went down a treat. The hot apple sundae came complete with toffee syrup to add to your liking. Vanilla ice cream with actual vanilla specks in it is always a good sign and every bite had large pieces of apple pie. The chocolate parfait was much richer, but I wouldn’t expect anything less. With an espresso, that dessert rounded off a lovely meal.
The space is modern, simple, open, and will quickly become a hotspot for weekend brunches and alfresco dining come the summer months. I can’t wait to come back to try out their breakfast menu. It’s refreshing to see simple plates done well, at good value, which not only fill you up, but will have you coming back.
Exmouth Market Grind
8-10 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QA