Restaurant Story is the creation of 26 year old chef Tom Sellers, who has worked for the likes of Tom Aikens and Thomas Keller in New York. The restaurant is housed in a former toilet block near Tower Bridge (not that you’d know it now) and the concept is a rather unusual one. When booking you’re asked to bring along a book with you and leave it behind along with your reason for choosing it. This is to help “share not only ours but your story too”. As I’ve never actually fully read a book I turned up empty handed and to my relief it didn’t seem to matter – there was no mention of books!
That aside, the restaurant was simply beautiful. Flooded with natural light, it had that whole Nordic-chic vibe to it. The concrete floor and lack of any soft furnishings meant it could get a little loud but that just added to the atmosphere. The small kitchen was inside the dining room for all to see – yet its glass front meant it was in no way intrusive.
There were three menus available; a three course set lunch priced at £35, a six course tasting menu priced at £45 and 10 courses priced at £65. The latter being our choice and we didn’t regret it!
Three stunning amuses got things off to a glorious start. Crispy cod skin with carrot tops was as crunchy as could be and the courgette flowers with crispy bacon crumbs were intriguing yet delicious. The rabbit “sandwich” topped with three varieties of carrot was rich, meaty and utterly divine. We hadn’t even started the courses yet and we had fallen in love with the place.
Our first course was bread and dripping – but not quite how we’d imagined. A beef dripping candle was brought to the table and lit by our waiter; as the dripping melted into the dish below we were told to dunk our bread into it. What a clever idea! In the olden days candles used to be made from beef dripping so it made perfect sense – edible candles! The apple bread had a spongy centre which was the perfect tool for soaking up that delightful fat.
Our second course was burnt onion with apple, gin and thyme. As with all the dishes that followed it was a beautiful plate of food. An unusual selection of flavours blended perfectly together and the burnt onion provided both sweet and bitter elements.
Next was one of our stand-out dishes; scallops, cucumber and dill ash. The thin slices of scallop were so juicy and milky; their quality was top notch. Mini cucumber balls, some dusted in a subtle dill ash, brought freshness making every mouthful a taste of Summer.
Crab, smoked leek, rapeseed, pear and loveage was a delicate little number; another brilliant balancing act of flavours which was spot on. The sweet pear and fragrant rapeseed oil only enhanced the white crab meat.
Next was something so seemingly simple yet it was astoundingly tasty; heritage potato, radish butter and barley grass. Half a new potato and some mashed potato were so delicious and flavourful I couldn’t quite believe I was eating a humble potato. The mash was velvety smooth with a hint of cheese running through. Who knew a measly potato could provide so much excitement!
The next course of beetroot, raspberry and horseradish was a great palate cleanser. A little mound of horseradish snow was super zingy along with the tart raspberries which were soothed by sweet chunks of beetroot.
Our final farewell to savoury was beef cheek, stout and cauliflower yeast (whatever that is!). It was served with some nettles; an unusual pairing for the beef which actually really worked. The nettles soaked up a lot of the sauce giving them plenty of flavour. The beef was faultlessly tender and a generous portion too. The cauliflower had a charred edge and a crunchy texture yet it wasn’t inedibly bitter. Utterly delicious!
Our first pudding came in a little milk bottle complete with a straw. It was a rhubarb and custard cream soda which comprised of a rhubarb jelly bottom and a creamy custard middle topped with a cream soda foam. We slurped away to our heart’s content, it was a divine blend of flavours; sweet, sharp and tangy – there was nothing not to like!
Our next dessert was described simply as ‘lemon’ and was served in a beautiful glass bowl. I love lemony puds so I was in heaven; there was a lemon parfait, lemon snow, frozen white chocolate, candied lemon, meringue shards and milk ice cream. God it was good!
Our final dessert was my favourite dish of all, Three Bears’ porridge. Three little bowls of porridge were served along with a tiny spoon; one sweet, one salty, and one just right. In my opinion they were all just right, in fact they were all perfect! One was sweetened with honey and another made savoury by adding vanilla salt. It was most unusual having porridge for pudding but it was the finest porridge I’ve ever eaten!
As a final treat to end this mammoth feast of deliciousness, some petit fours were served. The thin crisp chocolate candy was scrumptious but my favourite was Tom’s take on a Tunnock’s teacake. This had a raspberry filling to compliment the marshmallow which was gorgeous!
Service throughout our lunch was impeccable. Two of our waiters, whom we recognised from our previous visit to Restaurant Tom Aikens, were so friendly and chatty which really added to the whole experience. Considering we only visited Restaurant Story on their third day of opening, everything ran like clockwork, like it had been there for years which is a sign of a great front of house.
The year is far from over but I have a very strong feeling that I may have eaten my finest meal already! It’s rare to find a 10 course tasting menu with no duds or unlikeable dishes, my gentleman companion and I both felt each course was faultless. I’ve fallen head over heels in love with Restaurant Story. Book now!