I’ve always had a soft spot for Bill. Maybe it’s the shock of Aussie beachy blond hair. Or his cheeky grin lifted straight from the face of a naughty but endearing toddler. Or maybe it’s what appears to be his effortlessness in achieving that ‘perfect life’ that we all covet.
So when I heard Bill Granger was spreading his English wings from Notting Hill to Clerkenwell to open his second London restaurant, I felt so pleased and proprietorially ‘proud’ of him. Silly, I know. I knew this meant that I needed to be tougher, steelier, than ever before to write this review in a way that wasn’t affected by my fondness for friendly, successful Antipodeans. Placing my smitten-kitten goggles firmly on the ample sized table in front of me, I sat back to take in the loveliness of the restaurant space. Light billows in on a gloomy London day of slate-grey Victorian skies*. Super-sized panels of glass frame the lush, green street trees and you get the sense that you’re sort of floating above the hub-bub below. It’s calming. Serene. I check that the staff aren’t on roller blades as they glide about the place, being charming, being cool.
Unlike the Notting Hill restaurant, which sometimes becomes an obstacle course littered with prams and pushchairs, the capacious room feels like it will never be dwarfed by anything. The proportions are lovely. It is at once slick and grand, and warm and welcoming. The food is simple but delicious. Nothing too challenging, but fresh and zingy and full of life. The creamed corn, which comes with the chicken schnitzel and fennel slaw (£14.70) is a knock-out. The usual cloying sweetness of corn is forced into submission by a perfect dose of not-too-hot chilli and the umami of the coriander in the slaw. Spring on a plate arrives in the form of a pea, broadbean, bean and fetta salad (£7.80). It just bounces off the plate, as does the heritage tomato salad (£6.50). The potato salad (£3.80) is less memorable, but has a hard job up against these beauties.
We didn’t have time or space for dessert. The lemon curd & ginger nut cheesecake and the salted caramel & bitter chocolate pot (£6.50) both piqued my interest and shall be consumed upon my return; for my enjoyment and your information. So, bias aside, I can report that Bill G seems to have done it again. Granger and Co, Clerkenwell, is a lovely, local restaurant of delightful interiors and nourishing comfort food. Clerkenwellians are lucky indeed to have a bit of ‘my’ Bill in their ‘hood. You can find more Food Reviews here. And details of the Soho Food Walk here. Granger & Co 50 Sekforde Street London EC1R 0HA http://www.grangerandco.com/