Finally! Bill's London restaurant, Granger & Co, the one we've waited with bated breath for so long is here! Granger & Co opened early this week - without any fanfare and is already causing a stir in Notting Hill.
We decided our first trip would be Sunday brunch so 9 of us agreed a semi-early start to allow enough time for getting a table. We certainly weren't disappointed with the queue - we added our name to "the list" at 10.30am, were sent on our way to enjoy a coffee at a competing cafe (note to bill, we would have been more than happy to wait outside with a cup of your own coffee!) and finally sat down at 12.15pm. Unfortunately, because of the way tables were turning over, 4 of us managed to squeeze in, with the other 5 having to wait another half hour - in this time a table of 4 became available that we asked if an extra chair could be squeezed in - the rather flustered english maitre'd declined our request...a little while later, another 4 became available, we managed to speak to the Australian manager [who i'm quite sure is also an import, looked very similar to the manager at Bills in Sydney we saw in January] who had no problem adding that extra chair - gotta love that Aussie can-do attitude!
So finally seated, we had quite a long time to peruse the menu (even though we all knew what we were having). There have been many reviews so far complaining of the slow service, which I do have to agree with, however this place has been open less than a week with a constant 2 hour wait all day every day so I don't hold this against Granger & Co at all - especially as the wait staff were so upbeat and friendly - I have no doubt things will settle down and the team will get into a better rhythm.
So with all this time to get used to our surroundings, it was hard to not to get caught up in the buzz and vibe in the packed dining room. The restaurant is light and bright owing to the large windows and high ceilings and clever use of mirrors on doors and walls. The kitchen is a few steps up at the rear of the restaurant and whilst not entirely open you can get some of an idea of what's going on up there. It was also really lovely to see Bill himself working the floor, everything from chatting to guests to clearing tables - I just love this hands-on attitude!
We started with drinks, which we couldn't NOT try the coffee - desperately hoping for that little taste of home that England fails to deliver on a daily basis. My latte was strong and lovely and creamy - the way us Aussies like a good latte - tick!
The hot chocolate sounded tantalising, however, we all agreed this was a fail - i'm sure the Callebaut chocolate is lovely, but mixed with only warm milk, this wasn't enough for it to blend through so were left with a cup milk with chocolate that sank to the bottom.
And then finally, the food! With 3 of us ordering the Ricotta Hotcakes and one serving of Corn Fritters (sans bacon for Ben of course), I guess we can't comment too much on the menu - however, these favourites of Bill's didn't disappoint, reminiscent of Bill's in Sydney it was a very welcome taste of home. The Ricotta hotcakes were light and fluffy with honeycomb butter oozing over the top - delish! The only negative point on the Corn Fritters was that they seemed quite a lot smaller than in Sydney, but they lived up to their reputation!
We finished with a few more beverages - Mimosa, Bill's Mule and China Green Leaf tea (which came in the cutest little teapot ever!).
Fair to say we all walked away very happy customers!
A couple of final points:
- we all left quite cold - with all the comings and goings of the masses, the main door was open more than shut, and in this chilly weather this didn't make for a very cosy temperature inside.
- where's the vegetarian options Bill? Looking at the lunch and dinner menu's there a limited number of vegetarian options!
Regardless - we loved it - we'll be back - probably many times!