Restaurant Story is amazing. I can regale you with the chef, Tom Sellers’ CV but it shouldn’t be the reason that you go; you go for the story that comes out on the plates from the small almost square, red tiled kitchen. In fact don’t read on, don’t even bother to read reviews. Just pick up the phone and make a reservation.
The food is sublime, but the magic of Story goes far beyond the traditional fine dining experience. It is food that is welcome in the hallowed top lists from rising stars. Tom Sellers and his kitchen crew aren’t just chefs; they are artists, with passion and daring.
This is what I want on a plate – foraged food, handcrafted ingredients, playful twists and food from carefully sourced purveyors. Story gives that and then presents it on a handmade plate with the most beautiful presentation.
From the moment that you sit at the table with the volume of Charles Dickens, in which are tucked the menus, you know there is a bit of mystery afoot.
The lighting of the antique candlestand is ceremonial, but not discussed until much later when the handcrafted sourdough bread arrives with a relish of chicken and celery which Jack ends up devouring with a teaspoon even though it is meant for the whole table. The candle itself is beef tallow and the bread is meant to be dipped into it. The experience reminiscent of eating bone marrow. I assure you the actuality is such fun, you will never look at a taper in the same way.
Story is not about gimmicks, but is about playing with your food to make it even more delicious and more beautiful. Vinegar is an essential element to the dishes and the glass wall of the kitchen is lined with vinegar jars stuffed with infusion ingredients which range from pine to hawthorn to apricot to thistle. The artistry and thoughtfulness, extend throughout the meal, from the selection of housemade juices infused with herbs, to the small but passionate winelist and the brand new build of the modern Scandinavian style small wooden dining room.
From the five amuses to the two petit fours, the tale unfolds, enticing the diner with color, texture and playfulness.
I could talk more about the ingredients, name names, give influences; but I think I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story.
Amuses: Radishes stuffed with Seaweed; sandwich cookie of squid ink and eel creme; nasturtium with oyster, rabbit sandwich with tarragon and pickled veg; wafers of cod fish skin with cod roe creme and carrot
Bread and dripping
An edible candle of beef tallow in an antique candlestand appears on the table, but it’s function is not revealed until the bread arrives.
Burnt onion, apple, gin and thyme
Wonderful flavors. The ‘sauce’ is poured over tableside.
Scallops, cucumber and dill ash
Gorgeous presentation. Scallops delicate and fresh, marinated in Meadowsweet vinegar.
Mackerel, salad root and strawberry
The mackerel is charred on one side as a reminescence of going out fishing and being so enthusiastic to eat your catch that your burn it a bit – likewise the green strawberry shows the enthusiasm of finding a berry and picking it before it’s ripe. Hawthorn Vinegar.
Heritage potato, asparagus and barley grass
The potato is special. It is grown by a farmer in Suffolk who works in chalky soils. The asparagus comes from near Cambridge. Charcoal Oil.
Beetroot, raspberry and horseradish
The horseradish is snowlike frozen powder. The beetroot is marinated in raspberry vinegar. The tiny rounds are sorrel leaves cut into perfect circles.
Pigeon, summer truffle and pine
The pigeon is shot outside London and is grilled over pine and pine needles. The accompaniments included slightly foraged sea broccoli and wildflowers, chard and charred broccoli stem.
Lemon curd and snow and oil with lemon verbena ice cream with a lemon sugar tuile – a wonderful refreshing interim.
Prune tea, lovage and milk
Lovage icecream, lovage oil, with bits of prune in a prune tea with milk skin
Three Bears’ porridge
Three bowls – you choose which one you prefer.
Petit Fours: dark chocolate covered soft marshmallow with rose and raspberry – (in the style of mallowmars) ; chocolate ribbons