Food, This Week In

Review: Restaurant Story

Jul 15th, 2013

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We totally missed the memo that we needed to bring a book with us to the restaurant. We arrived empty handed, apart from a game pie recently purchased from Maltby Street Market, which is in itself, totally uncouth. None of us had realised that the story bit in the restaurant’s name didn’t just refer to the food, we were meant to bring a book of special meaning to give to charity.

 

According to Tom Sellers, Chef Patron of the restaurant, each dish on the tasting menu has a story behind it. The only story I can actually remember from the taste bud tickler lunch was the ‘Rabbit Finger’ story.  Quite simply, Tom was a big fan of fish fingers as a child so thought he’d create a grown up version for his guests. As my attention span is so poor and I switched off every time the waiter went into the details behind each dish, I decided to make the stories up as we went along. For me there could only be one reason for the flowers stuffed with oyster emulsion; Tom was a big fan of the Magic Roundabout books. I felt distinctly like Ermintrude as I chewed on that floral delicacy, needless to say it wasn’t a favourite of mine.

 

Located in an old public toilet on Tooley Street near London Bridge – London’s foodie hub, Restaurant Storys usual clientele are hipster food lovers who incessantly take photos of each dish presented to them before uploading it onto Twitter or Instagram and then ride off into the sunset on their fixie bikes. That being said, the atmosphere in the restaurant isn’t stuck up or snooty towards non-hipsters, it’s laid-back and relaxed with attentive service. There is a window surrounding the compact kitchen, which is less for us to look in and more so the chefs can peek out at us, a touch I rather liked.

 

Story offers a choice between a six course and a ten course tasting menu at £45 or £65 respectively. As it was only lunchtime we thought best to go for the lighter option although in hindsight I could definitely have polished off four more plates. The dishes I mentioned before are merely the warm-up act before the main tasting event. Our taste buds were truly entertained with some unusual pairings of flavours in the dishes that ensued.  My three standouts were the ‘Bread and dripping’, ‘Pigeon, summer truffle and pine’ and the dish that apparently divides the nation, ‘Three Bear’s porridge’.  Clearly an artistic chef (perhaps a legacy from his Noma days), the dripping was served in the form of a candle, lit nearly as soon as we sat down so that it had time to melt and ooze onto the base of the candlestick holder. The pool of beef fat was then ready to be enjoyed by the time we had finished our “snacks”, with fresh sourdough and a little bowl of chopped up beef and pickled cucumber to off-set the fattiness. So much better than butter and way more fun to eat and dunk in. I was swiping my companion’s hand out of the way as I tried to claim the last smidgens of the melted, juicy fat. The pigeon was cooked to perfection, not chewy or too hard, and accompanied by the summer truffle, added just the right amount of richness. I love pigeon. With London’s abundance of them I really would like to see it on menus more often. The grand finale of the porridge was more the fun of it rather than the taste. The waiter challenged us to find which of the three bowls was just right for each of us. This Goldilocks, who prides herself on having such a sophisticated savoury palate and no sweet tooth, went straight in there with the ‘too sweet’, not even bothering with more than a mouthful of the ‘too salty’ caramel porridge and the fruity ‘just right’.

 

Story is an experience for the taste buds, it gets the mind thinking. I mean, how on earth does snow-like, powdered horseradish accompany beetroot and raspberries? To me, Tom Sellers is a bit of a genius and as I left Story I tried to give our table neighbour, AA Gill, a knowing look and nod but he was far too engrossed in someone’s left behind George Orwell book.

 

For more of Cordelia’s reviews please visit http://www.esdmagazine.com/

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