Food Type : British Fine Dining
Location : (Nearest tube London Bridge/ Tower Hill)
Courses : 10 (Tasting Menu)
Price : Approx £150-£170 a head (with drinks pairing & cocktails)
Book Ahead? The only way.
Website : www.restaurantstory.co.uk
I has heard good things about Restaurant story and had tried to previously book last year for the husband’s birthday but I was too late (you need to book in advance!), this time round, we decided to go on a lunchtime, in the week, so I think we only had to book maybe one week ahead for the pleasure.
If you don’t know or haven’t heard about Restaurant Story , it’s basically (but not) but kind of the Fat Duck of London….but perhaps better. It has been opened since 2013 and is the first restaurant of chef Tom Sellers which received it’s first Michelin star within just 5 months of opening it’s doors. The food is inspired by simply telling ‘their’ story (the food comes in chapters, you get a reading book on your table) and certain dishes are nostalgic and memory-provoking, mainly british-style food.
The restaurant is located pretty much smack in between two roads, in a pretty un-assuming, bordering ugly location, I think it used to be a public loo….but that almost adds to the amazement once you step inside ; it’s really relaxed, understated and beautifully, albeit simply decorated. You get a nice distance in between dining tables and instantly are put at ease and made to feel relaxed. Staff were all really friendly, attentive, without being the typical michelin-star overbearing/overly chatty-bordering-on-annoying kinda vibe ; these guys leave you to it, simply explaining what you do, what the dishes are and how you do it! (this will make sense as I explain the food bit…)
I didn’t take along my fancy camera so pictures are iphone only. I kind of hate coming to this calibre of restaurant and being the arsehole food picture-taker but to be fair, with the kind of food that kits your table in this establishment, 70% are snapping away pictures of their food in disbelief and bemusement & slight confusion.
What we ate & drank
As you are looking at the menu you get some snacky plates sent out which are pretty showpiece & start you on the culinary story. We already knew were going to go IN with the tasting menu & I always like the courses to be a suprise so I didn’t even look at what was coming in the courses. (LIVING on the edge, I know)
We both started off with a cocktail & also opted for the drinks pairing with the tasting menu, so you pretty much get a boozey accompaniment with every course, be it a small glass of wine, gin, port or whatever enhances the food of that course. It’s not a full drink-size so you aren’t totally shitfaced by course 5.
After the small snacks, comes Chapter I of ‘The Sea’ which included crab and then razorclam. The razorclam was quite an elaborate display for one mouthful of actual food but I really liked this element and both sea courses were fresh and light to get you going.
Chapter II is Childhood, inspired by chef Tom’s Seller’s experiences. The Tallow Candle (‘Bread & Dripping’) has to be the most memorable of the meal and is quite the talking point of this restaurant. The waiter/ess puts down a candle on your table and leaves it to burn, I was non-the-wiser and just thought it was to add a touch of romance or ambience, but 5 minutes later, bread comes over and you are told that the candle is in fact edible dripping (which has now half-collected in melted/liquid form in the dish) and you tear and dip away to your heart’s content. LOVE. Onion & Gin was (I think) inspired by Tom Seller’s teens (or some when) when in New York and having nights out & drinking copius amounts of gin. Once leaving the bars @ night, apparently you can just smell the onions from the hot dog stands everywhere so this is how the dish came about. Probably least of my favourite in the taste-stakes but the story just makes sense. To finish up Chapter II was scallop ceviche which was really lovely and fresh and light, I think it came with something cucumber-esque & edible flowers.
Chapter III : LAND. My favourite chapter kicked off by basically a dollop of the most delicious mashed potato you will ever try ; The simple pleasures. The Hardwick Lamb was my favourite dish (taste-wise) out of the whole meal and just every element was so good and a little more substantial and filling than some of the others. Out then came a wicker picnic basket plonked on our table which we were told to explore and open ourselves ; it came with a mini picnic mat to place on the table as the bread, cheeses & chutneys are encouraged to be eaten off the table. I also loved the Gosnell’s Mead bottles that accompanied the picnic. (You get a little bottle opener in the basket)
CHAPTER IV : The End.
I have experienced quite a few tasting menu’s at these fancy michelin-star-type restaurants and you can often feel rushed through, particulary with the drinks pairing as you try and glug down every drop of booze with the food, but @ Story, it was a nice relaxed pace, where you really get to enjoy each course slowly (if you want) and absorb in the whole experience, which it really is. They do say to allow up to 3.5 hours if you are having the tasting menu for 2 people.
Worth the splurge, a must-go for special occasions or if you are just really into your food and fine dining. I will absolutely go back again.