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Grain Street – a great dining experience for 2 with no set rules

Updated: Jul 2, 2023

Grain Street forms part of ‘Rosselli AX Privilege’, a 5-star luxury boutique hotel in Valletta. The place is stylish. The food is amazing!

It was announced last week that Malta got its first ever MICHELIN-starred restaurants. Three restaurants were awarded this honour, one of which was Under Grain which, like Grain Street, forms part of Rosselli AX Privilege, a five-star luxury boutique hotel in Valletta.

Lucky us, we had the pleasure to stay for two days and experience the place in full. This was achieved in the first few months of its opening and a month after Grain successfully received 9 medals and 4 trophies at the Top Culinary Competition in Malta.

Grain Street Rosselli AX entrance
Grain Street forms part of ‘Rosselli AX Privilege

In the press release issued for the occasion of the MICHELIN award, Ms Claire Zammit Xuereb, Hospitality Director for AX Group, of which Grain forms part, expressed her delight at how such a prestigious honour was truly well-deserved noting that:

the kitchen brigade at Grain made history today as being among the first restaurant to receive a MICHELIN Star in Malta. It is indeed a title to be proud of and one that gives us the motivation to continue to work harder to achieve our culinary goals. This is the very start of a long journey for Grain”.

On his part, Executive Chef, Victor Borg, who we had the honour of interviewing on a separate occasion, expressed his gratitude for having a strong team by his side, noting that ‘This honour was not achieved in isolation. We work as a team and we win as a team. The Grain kitchen brigade, together with the service team, is a strong unit, constantly striving for the best possible service. We’re grateful that our culinary experience was proudly recognised'.

Grain Street Rosselli AX Victor Borg
Executive Chef, Victor Borg

We did not visit Under Grain (though we eventually did, with amazing results), but Grain Street which also forms part of the recently opened, and very eye-catching, ‘Rosselli’, a five-star luxury boutique hotel located in Merchant Street, Valletta. Grain Street is nothing less than stylish and classy. The dark and moody colours with soft lighting are in line with an atmosphere of refined dining, but somehow the place itself relaxes you.

Grain Street Rosselli AX restaurant interior
Michelin Star Under Grain, forming part of Rosselli AX Privilege

The theme at Grain Street, like that of Under Grain, is inspired by the tailoring profession, and there are plenty of reminders, ranging from a mannequin placed behind one of the front windows to your jackets being kept in what you could call, a glass ‘cloakroom’ located in the middle of the restaurant.

The service was with a smile and was very professional. The staff was efficient and charming, throughout, one in particular offering the occasional jokes which made the place even more relaxing. It is indeed true that well-trained staff are worth their weight in gold. We were given a very hospitable welcome, shown to our tables and afterwards explained how the menu works.

Grain Street Rosselli AX food selection
Small plates to share and no set rules

Grain Street offers a casual dining experience with small plates to share and no set rules. The approach does not follow the classical starter, main and dessert sequence (though we still left dessert for last). The aim to for you to try different dishes through a random selection without giving too much importance to sequence.

To make the approach even more adventurous, the people at Grain Street decided to make all their wines available by glass. In our case, this enabled us to enjoy two different types of sparkling wine without having to order two full bottles in the middle of the day.

Whilst we love the idea of sharing the whole lot at once, we still decided to split our choices into courses. We started with a local Maltese sausage roll, accompanied by an English mustard emulsion (€4). This is not your normal Maltese sausage but a homemade one rich in texture, just as greasy, and wrapped in flaky puff pastry which absorbed all the saltiness and fat of the sausage.

Grain Street Rosselli AX sausage rolls
Local Maltese Sausage Roll

Along with this, we opted for the Smashed Burratina (€13), which was covered with slices of salt-baked beetroot, and burnt pink grapefruit and accompanied by sherry dressing. The acidity from the slightly charred grapefruit beautifully combined with the soft creamy taste of the burratina, whilst the slices of beetroot added extra freshness to a simple but very enjoyable dish.

Grain Street Rosselli AX burratina
Smashed Burratina

Next came a delightfully thick ‘Orzotto of barley’ (€12), with ox tongue, Jerusalem artichokes and preserved lemons. The dish was delicious and frugal, the taste and dripping of cheese with every spoonful suggesting a heavy use of Parmesan. The small bits of tender ox tongue added to the explosion of various flavours in the dish, making it a texturally challenging dish.

Grain Street Rosselli AX orzotto
Orzotto of Barley

It was the very hip and trendy Black lasagne with calamari, squid ink and Nduja (€13) though which really stole our hearts. This was very well-made pasta touched with a few drops of squid ink infusing the dish with umami and tender calamari. The dish was beautifully rounded off with the Nduja, a sauce made with pork fat, herbs and spices, and spicy Calabrian peppers, which give Nduja its chilli heat taste and distinctive red colour.

Grain Street Rosselli AX black lasagne with calamari
Black lasagne with Calamari

By the time dessert was about to arrive, we were already drawing up plans to visit Grain Street again. Our dessert consisted of strawberries with aged balsamic ice cream (€7), a classic combination. The description on the menu included preserved lemon, but unfortunately, there weren’t any.

The creaminess of the ice cream perfectly complemented the strong tang and syrupy taste of the balsamic vinegar. As is the case with the classic strawberries and balsamic, the contrast of flavours enhanced the sweetness of the soft and moist strawberries.

Grain Street Rosselli AX strawberries with balsamic vinegar ice cream
Strawberries with Aged Balsamic Ice Cream

The food and atmosphere we experienced at Grain Street showed us why this place, and Under Grain, located one floor below it, are going places. Much debate has raged about recent redevelopments in Valletta, but when you end up experiencing places like this you do think something good is also happening.


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