The Brewery in Kendal is, in my humble opinion, one of the finest arts centres in the country, but that’s not all it is famed for.
In the midst of all the artistic endeavour lies a stylish and somewhat Bohemian restaurant – The Grainstore.
The Brewery is tucked away down an unprepossessing alleyway off Kendal’s high street, yet what delights lie within!
I went there with my husband Mark, who works in Kendal, as a bit of a change from eating out in the Lancaster and Morecambe area.
However, as Kendal is only about 20 minutes down the M6, it was quick and easy to get there.
It was pouring with rain when we arrived so we dried off in The Brewery’s funky Vats Bar before the meal.
We sat in a huge beer vat that had been converted into quirky and intimate seating. This is one of Kendal’s trendiest venues for a drink and it has a huge range to choose from including cask ales, bottled beers, ciders and wines.
On entering The Grainstore we were delighted to see the beautifully decorated interior.
It was painted in vibrant red, blue and green.
The soft lighting created a warm and welcoming atmosphere and it definitely had a touch of the artist’s studio about it with quirky frames on the walls and contemporary stained glass features. A complete one-off.
The tapas-style menu had a lot to offer so we decided to try three small dishes each and a salad bowl.
Mark opted for the goujons of chicken with coconut crumb and chilli dip, the glazed barbecue pork ribs and the beef stack (sirloin steak, field mushrooms, beef tomato and rocket).
I selected the tiger prawns sauteed in butter with garlic and fresh chillis and the roasted squash hummous with assorted bread. I also had the sauteed garlic mushrooms gremolata (herby breadcrumbs).
The food looked magnificent when it was laid out on the table by the friendly and efficient waiter.
We tucked in and were delighted by the mouth-watering dishes.
My prawns were tender and I enjoyed the kick from the fresh chillis. The plate of roasted squash hummous was a rustic treat and the garlic mushrooms were full of Mediterranean flavour. The accompanying salad was also delicious.
Mark enjoyed the chicken and ribs but his firm favourite was the sirloin steak. It was moist, tender and succulent.
I’m reliably informed that The Grainstore’s pizzas are also fabulous.
We were stuffed, but the food was so good that we decided to have dessert as well.
I had that Cumbrian favourite – sticky toffee pudding – and Mark had two scoops of ice cream (strawberry and ‘thunder and lightning’).
Both dishes were beautifully presented with unusual little touches.
Chef Gerrard Quinn is to be congratulated for the imagination and variety of his dishes.
Gerrard said: “Our menu at the Grainstore and Vats Bar allows you to create the meal that is right for you. Using great local produce, we have come up with a wide selection of smaller, flavour-packed dishes which you can combine in any way you like.
“You may want just one dish to go with a pint. You may want one plate as a starter and a combination of further dishes for your main course. You can create a banquet with friends, selecting a wide range of plates to arrive at your table at once.”
It’s a novel and fun way to eat and I’d definitely recommend it.