It all started with his café-style eaterie in Notting Hill, but Bill Granger tells Cortlyn Stovall that he is determined to keep mixing it up when it comes to his cooking style
Do you ever think of brunch as the underrated, midmorning meal that isn’t quite sure which food genre it’s supposed to fall into? Well, Australian chef Bill Granger – crafter of the easy-going, global cuisine at Granger & Co in Notting Hill – has mastered the fine line between breakfast and lunch and created a culinary sensation sweeping across London. After the success of one Aussie-inspired food joint here in W11, he is at it again with his newest opening of Granger & Co in Clerkenwell, and the release of a new Italian cookbook, Bill’s Italian Food.
‘The menu has a bit of everything, just like London,’ the affable Bill says of the Clerkenwell opening. ‘You create dishes based off of what you want yourself.’ If you’ve been lucky enough to dine at the Notting Hill location, you’ll still want to pay a visit to the eatery in Clerkenwell. Bill didn’t want to create a duplicate copy of his first café; instead, he geared it more to the traditional, dining restaurant atmosphere. The menu offers more sharing dishes and more room to dine. Unlike the Notting Hill residence, the old printing warehouse converted into a trendy eatery offers bookings.
When Bill first debuted in London three years ago, he aimed to create a fresh and local café for the city. ‘I’ve always loved London,’ he explains, ‘it has the most extraordinary food scene.’ Ranging from sweet corn fritters, shrimp burgers, veal ragu and everything in between, the Notting Hill menu offers a veritable plethora of options for all palates from sun-up to sun-down. ‘The atmosphere is light and sunny,’ Bill says. ‘I wanted a place where I could read the paper in the morning, eat with my family or meet my wife for drinks after work. It’s an extension of life.’ Contrasting the Clerkenwell setting, Bill wanted the Notting Hill café to ‘seem like the living room of a house just extended from the kitchen’.
Along with the opening of Granger & Co Clerkenwell, Bill has also recently released his 11th cookbook, focusing on Italian delicacies. Bill’s Italian Food captures the essence of Italian cuisine in the same healthy, wholesome way he is known for. The idea for a publication of this Australian-Italian cooking came to him on a family holiday in Puglia in southern Italy. ‘Wherever I go, I get bits of inspiration to bring back to my restaurant,’ he says. He was motivated by the Italian lifestyle and how food revolves around family, friends, relaxing and simply enjoying life. The cookbook offers something for any type of hunger from the easiest of ravioli to grandiose family-style meals. He has already begun incorporating the Italian-inspired dishes into his menu of Granger & Co – several mouth-watering pasta dishes are available to sink your fork into for lunch and dinner.
With multiple locations across the globe, Bill has captured the art of inventive dishes. ‘My food is global food,’ he nods. ‘I love to travel, so I want to create well travelled food.’ Although he adds a distinct Australian spin on many of his dishes, his other locations in Hawaii and Japan have also influenced some of the selections he has created, such as the crispy duck and tempura shrimp. Judging by the queues formed every weekend, it appears the local foodies have responded well to his creatively simple grub. But Bill attributes the continuing success of his restaurants to his loyal patrons. ‘The customers give the restaurant personality,’ Bill says. ‘The locals here have given this restaurant a great atmosphere.’
175 Westbourne Grove W11 2SB; 020 7229 9111; grangerandco.com
MAKE IT AT HOME
Griddled squid, herb salad and black olive dressing
- Serves 4
Ingredients600g cleaned squid, scored on the inside and cut into thick strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
Small bunch basil, leaves picked
Small bunch mint, leaves picked
Lemon wedges, to serve
Pat the squid dry with kitchen paper and toss with the olive oil and chilli flakes. Preheat a barbecue or a chargrill pan on high heat. Cook the squid for one minute on each side, until just cooked. Set aside.
Spread the herbs on a big platter, scatter over the squid and spoon over the dressing. Serve with the lemon wedges.