Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.
The critics are loving Restaurant Story, the bloggers are going in droves and young chef Tom Sellers is making waves. Sellers has some impressive establishments on his CV, including New York's Per Se and former world number one, Noma. But what I love the most about this young chap's vision, is that his present and future are firmly rooted in his past. Memories of his happy times drive the menu, and create yours.
My husband has been itching to go here for months, so on a drizzly day in September we made our way towards London Bridge, not sure what to expect. The building is a simple structure of wood and glass with an interior to match. It has a distinctly modern Scandinavian feel but nods towards our English heritage with pewter style jugs and aged copies of literary favourites holding the menus. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, but I still had the excitement that comes with knowing you are about to receive something spectacular.
The menu is in tasting form, with the option to do either six or ten courses. We opted for the six course, as the additional dishes were mainly fish or beetroot, neither of which float my boat.
The back of the menus are illustrated with curious pen and ink drawings of animals. I was particularly fond of our little otter in chef's whites. Or maybe he was a weasel. Hard to tell.
Cod skin with cod roe purée and carrot tops: Despite the fact I'm not a fish fan (they can breathe underwater you know!?), I always try it if it's put in front of me. This was one of those occasions where I was pleasantly surprised. The cod skin was crisp and actually quite sweet, and the roe puree gave a nice salty contrast.
Nasturtium with oyster purée and breadcrumbs: It's recommended that this is eaten in one bite so you get a good mix. Flavours are quite subtle, but this is all about the texture.
Radish with seaweed butter: I find radishes a bit hard work, but stuffing them with seaweed butter alleviates this problem. This wasn't too salty as I imagined, it was actually verging on sweet.
Storeo cookies - squid ink biscuit with smoked eel filling and vinegar powder: This was a beautiful dish. The biscuits had a lovely crisp texture and the eel filling was almost mousse-like. When eaten together they were rather moreish indeed.
English corn barbecued, with corn custard: One of my favourite dishes of the day. Crisp edges on the corn and that delicious corn custard... I could eat it every day of my life.
Welsh rarebit/rabbit: Rabbit is mortal enemy number one - not rabbits themselves, but eating them. The staff were just lovely about this and so made me a mini rarebit instead. Nice touch. All the components of the classic dish were broken down then put back together once eaten.
Bread and dripping: God I'm a sucker for a clever gimmick. Dripping candle? Yes! How very Harry Potter of you. Bread wrapped in a purple leather pouch, dripping and a pot of meat, jelly and cabbage. Simple yet majorly effective.
Onion and English plum: What a pretty dish this was. I loved the charred bits of onion, which were lolling along in the sweetest onion consommé, and perched on plum purée.
Heritage potato, turnip and coal: We were told that these spuds were grown in chalk soil in a climate similar to that in the Champagne region, just to get the right taste. For a humble potato dish, this creamy little number was an absolute masterpiece. I could have eaten a full bowl.Wild duck, apple and bilberry: Before we received our potato dish, we were shown the duck whilst it was still being smoked in its stock pot. It was sat on a bed of hay, surrounded by fresh herbs and berries. It smelled divine. It was later presented with fresh leaves and a thick bilberry sauce. Real autumnal food.
Brie with black truffle and wild forrest chutney: This was an extra course we chose before desserts. This beautifully gloppy cheese had a layer of black truffle running through the middle, and came with a small pot of wild fruit chutney and fruit bread.
Almond and dill: By far the best course of the meal. Sweet almond with a slight bite, and fresh dill served with cold ice cream. It was out of this world.
Wild berries, chocolate and buttermilk: For those of you familiar with Aussie Crunch, yes, the base did taste a little like it but without the coconut. The addition of berries and that fresh sorbet was just a stroke of genius.
Tea cakes with rosemary and jasmine: It's genuinely upsetting how good these were. The shortbread base was thin and crisp, the fragrant marshmallow was gooey and the chocolate cold with a good bite to it. If M&S did these I'd be in trouble.
Plum purée with goat's milk foam: Although I loved the presentation, this was the only course I wasn't really fond of, but that was personal preference. I found the goat's milk quite strong against the sweet plums. No complaints from my husband who polished both.
Tea and coffee: Nicely presented and provided a much needed shot of caffeine before we departed.
Despite its bustling location, Restaurant Story is a little oasis of calm. If it had been a book, it would perhaps be an Enid Blyton novel: written with memories of childhood, the hope of something magical, with a little bit of adventure thrown in for good measure.
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