Tom Sellers opened Restaurant Story in April. Not only is he one of the youngest (only 26) chefs to open his own restaurant but he also benefits from having worked with some of the best chefs in the business starting his careeer at Tom Aikens Restaurant and from their moving on to work in Thomas Keller’s kitchen at Per Se and with Rene Redzepi at Noma. There has been a lot of hype about Tom opening Story and rightfully so given his track record so far. This is a huge accomplishment and one for which he definitely deserves recognition. I take my hat off to him already.
The idea behind the food is that it tells a story. In return you take a book to leave on their bookshelf. A nice idea and a fair exchange. The waiting list has been a long one. I booked back in March and finally last Thursday my waiting was over. My friend and I advanced upon Tooley Street just by London Bridge in pursuit of fine food.
The restaurant is a stand alone building which is conveniently placed at the junction where two roads split off. Wooden panels on the outside with big windows from floor to ceiling advancing on both sides. Inconspicuous with no apparent name on the outside.
It was still quite quiet when we got there. No music. A feeling of ‘the quiet before the storm’ hung in the air. The kitchen is part of the restaurant which is slightly boxed off by a half brick half glass wall so that you can watch the chefs at work. The look of deep concentration was on most of their faces.
We sat and quickly had a candle lit and drinks order taken. The wine list is extensive but rather expensive for my small budget with only one or two bottles in the £25 region! Tom has chosen good quality wines to accompany his menu.
The menu is a set six (£45) or ten course (£65). We opted for the six course. A candle was lit and we had about six appetisers set in front of us which were complimentary.
Our favourite was the one that looked like a mini oreo that was like a soft little biscuit made out of squid ink.
Beautiful nasturtium flower with oyster emulsion and crumb!
Crispy cod skin with little droplets of cod roe and carrot leaves.
Very cleverly the candle that had been lit at the table was actually part of our first course. Bread and dripping. Warm bread arrived at our table in a leather pouch with a lovely little vegetable condiment which was the perfect accompaniment to tie each individual element together.
Burnt Roscoff onions in an apple, gin and thyme jus. Delicate. The sweetness of the apple balanced the slightly burnt taste of the onions. Nice but it wasn’t our favourite.
Beetroot, raspberry and horseradish. This was a combination that I would never normally think to put together but I felt that it really worked and I really enjoyed it. The textures and flavours of the beetroot and raspberries worked well and the horseradish salt gave another completely different dimension to the dish.
Raw scallops. Balls of cucumber and zucchini flowers.
Pigeon. Summer truffle and thyme. Really nice flavours though the pigeon was slightly too tough for my liking.
Lemon sorbet. Milk crumb and wafer. Beautiful and really refreshing.
The fun part. Three bears porridge. One too sweet. One too savoury. One just right. You obviously have to guess which one is which. A great way to add a bit of fun into the meal.
As with any carefully crafted tasting menu you go to enjoy different combinations that you would never normally put together yourself. Interesting and fun. Tom has started a good thing here and I hope he carries on refining and trying new combinations for us all to try.