its systems. But, what the heck--the Grange seemed ready enough, my editor was curious about it, and after five years I'm moving on from reviewing restaurants for the Observer. Carpe victus, especially while it's still a paid perk.
Outside, the aesthetic is promising: a splendid logo of roots in earth and the most gorgeous, understated restaurant sign in the city. Inside, the bright, clean minimalist space conveys a sort of Puritan farmhouse chic, with a blond wood banquette lining one wall and brick arches setting off the high ceiling. On all four of my visits, the room was packed.
There's just one hitch. When Bella Ciao had this space, the ceiling was draped with fabric that cushioned the noise. It looks much better now, but that material soaked up sound. The absence of acoustic cushioning was a problem in Grange's first few weeks, when communicating with the servers sometimes felt like a game of charades. By September the owners had installed ceiling tiles that absorb a good deal more noise. Still, I prefer to sneak off to the small, brick-walled barroom upstairs, which is more intimate and better for conversation.