From the outside 26 Grains looks quite unassuming, whilst inside a small intimate space offers a cosier ambience.
The venue sits 16 at capacity, with a couple of additional tables outside for those brave enough to face the cold.
The menu is humble, with a selection of porridges, warm and cold dishes, sweets, coffees and new seasonal additions offered on a monthly basis.
With Neal’s Yard’s five organic-inspired businesses located within a 50-metre radius, 26 Grains is ideally located to attract those health conscious vegetarians.
Our meal started with yellow split-pea Daal, served with coconut yogurt, seeds, aubergine pickle and a side of rye sourdough. The Daal was strong in flavour, well-balanced in spices and nicely complimented by a refreshing dollop of coconut yogurt.
Sesame and almond toppings added a crunch to the meal, as did the small serving of boiled kale. Overall the dish was very flavoursome and appealing to the eye.
The ‘Root Sandwich’ consisted of beetroot hummus, walnuts, spinach, alfalfa sprouts and yellow beetroot. This was a substantial sandwich.
The beetroot hummus was the highlight: The smooth texture and more-ish flavour complimented a sweetish hint offered by the scrapings of yellow beetroot. The walnuts tasted slightly woody and added enjoyable texture, the spinach added crunch and colour.
The selection of porridges on offer vary from £6 to £7, and include sophisticated ingredients such as cinnamon, coconut palm sugar and date syrup.
Hazelnut & Butter porridge featured almond milk oats, almond butter, hazelnuts, cinnamon coconut Palm sugar and Apple.
Well-balanced in texture and sophisticated in flavour, a generous serving of Almond butter was enough to get you through the entire meal. the hazelnut nicely enhanced the apples.
The Nordic Pear was composed of oats cooked in coconut milk, spices, seeds, cacao crumble, coconut yogurt, pear and maple syrup.
The granola was the tastiest part of the dish; an excellent combination of rolled oats and nuts roasted in cardamon.
The porridge was mixed in with turmeric which gave a poignant taste to the dish overall. This was a successful attempt at combining sweet and savoury flavours.
The Berry bowl combines assorted berries with banana, turmeric, cardamom granola, coconut milk, goji berries and coconut flakes.
This dish would have been more successful if the base of the bowl hadn’t been so liquid. Despite a few subtle flavours in the granola this combination was otherwise plan in flavour.
Butternut squash, coconut yogurt, almonds, crispy sage was another ambitious combination served on rye. The butternut squash was roasted but a touch too mushy but the flavours married well.
I’ve become wary when ordering avocado on toast due to an often overly simplistic outcome that begs price justification.
The presentation was good, and at £5 the two thick slices of rye sourdough each attributed a half finely sliced avocado with added chili flakes resulting in a flavoursome mouthful.
To finish, a latte with oat milk was strong in flavour, and aromatic.
Four members of staff manage the business; an exposed kitchen allows customers sitting at the bar to track the progress of their meals. The owner, Alex Hely-Hutchinson, refers to the word “Hygge”, Danish for “cosy”, to refer to the concept of her business, which is successfully achieved with decor and food.
This was an enjoyable lunch, but the service leaves room for improvement.
The price point was well justified and made the visit worthwhile.
Featured image by Solen Le Net