Colchester in Essex might not exactly be considered a thriving hub of cutting-edge cuisine, but the folk behind small plates restaurant Grain are keen to prove that this Essex town can keep up with the big boys in the capital.
Grain first opened its doors in the summer of 2016 and can be found in the town centre, tucked away in the shadow of a car park. Grain’s smart dining room manages to overcome the less than appealing setting, an intimate space boasting a colour palette of neutrals, alongside wooden accents, copper pendant lights and bare wooden floors.
Co-owners Paul Wendholt and Jordan Sidwell cook up a storm in the kitchen, serving a menu of globally inspired and ingredient-led small plates. The menu changes almost daily, and is split into the following sections: garden, water, land, cheese and sweet.
Dishes you might come across on your visit include bubble and squeak croquette dipped in brown sauce, roast guinea fowl with parsnip, burnt apple and mustard, or stone bass with aubergine, miso, salsify and samphire. We’d recommend calling ahead if you have any allergies or intolerances, but Grain’s menu normally features a few options for vegetarian and gluten-free diners.
For dessert, those with a preference for all things savoury can feast on a selection of cheeses, such as baron bigod served alongside stick onions, chestnut and sourdough bread. If you prefer the sweeter things in life, instead order one of Grain’s tempting desserts – lemon and white chocolate mousse with cheesecake ice cream perhaps, or maybe an apple and damson ice cream sandwich.
To help wash it all down, there is a menu of cocktails and craft beers, alongside your usual wines, spirits and soft drinks. Grain is also open for lunch when you can enjoy three plates for £18 or four for £21.