Wednesday, 16 July 2014

London and Paris Foodie Adventure 2014: Day 5- Restaurant Story

201 Tooley St, London SE1 2UE, United Kingdom
+44 20 7183 2117

Tastiness Factor: 9/10

Atmosphere: 5/5

Service: 5/5

Locavore approved?  YES- Story uses seasonal British produce wherever possible, which was quite apparent in the dishes we ate.  This was taken to another level when, midway through our meal, we received a passage describing the origins of the wild greens we were eating (local of course, fresh from the ground!).  In addition to their food, they also serve wine from small producers and local ales.  These are some pretty passionate locavores!

Story was one of the first restaurants that I came across when searching for Michelin Star restaurants to visit on our trip to London.  I was immediately intrigued by their philosophy of telling a story through food and also impressed by Chef Tom Sellers receiving his Michelin Star 5 short months after opening.
This, combined with their love of local food, was enough to make me nab a reservation.

Story is located out of the downtown district near London Bridge and, fortunately for us, was a short 5 minute walk from our hotel.  The outside is quite unique as each wall is covered in wood panelling.  Upon entering, I immediately loved the room.  It had large windows on one side, making for a very bright space.  True to its name, it had bookshelves everywhere you turn (including the washroom!) which are full of books.  I also loved the semi-open kitchen along the back wall.  Overall, the space radiated warmth and hospitality

The service was much the same, and was by far the best we experienced in London.  It was very personable and approachable.  I especially liked the sommelier who took the time to speak with us about all of our other restaurant picks in London and who was both knowledgeable and enthusiastic  about food and wine.  It was also a nice touch to have a few dishes served to us by the chefs.

Guests at story have the choice between a 6 and 10 course tasting menu (there is no a la carte menu option).  We decided to splurge on the 10 course menu, which ended up including 20 plates of food!  I appreciated that they agreed to customize my menu to suit my pescatarian request.  All of the dishes were beautifully and whimsically presented which made the whole evening that much more special.

Because there were so many courses, and because the dishes change so regularly, I will not go into detail about each course, but below you will find pictures of (almost) every course with stars and a short description by our favourites.  The dishes that are side by side represent those that were altered/replaced  to suit my pescatarian request.

Amuse bouche- There were SEVEN of these little bites before our meal even started and each one was better than the last!  Hubby’s favourite was the chicken skewer while I loved the “story-o”, a very clever savoury take on the infamous Oreo.

***Bread with drippings- This is one of their signature dishes that you will likely read about in other reviews.  The bread is served with fat (butter in my case, beef drippings for Hubby) that is shaped into candles.  When he candle is lit, the drippings melt into the candle holder, ready for you to dunk your bread into.  How cool is that?  The dish was made even better for me due to the side of the radish “relish” that was put on top of the bread after dunking.

***Onions, apple and old tom- This one was so good that it disappeared before the picture!  We were told that this dish originated from the experiences of one of the chefs as a child when his grandmother would give him sweet onions to eat raw.  The sweet pearl onions were luscious, made sweeter by cooking them slightly.  The gin broth that was poured overtop added a nice kick of alcohol flavour.

***Scallops, cucumber and dill ash- This was amongst the best dishes we were served during our whole visit to  London.  It was composed of thin pieces of scallop with little balls of cucumber (some made black with ash), in a beautiful cucumber sauce.  The perfect summer dish.  We were told that it has been  on the menu since they opened for a long time and hopefully it stays there!

Heritage potato, peas, broad beans and coal

***Wild sea trout, gooseberries and spring vegetables- I loved this dish for its simplicity.  You cannot go wrong with  a piece of perfectly cooked trout and an impressive variety of garden fresh vegetables.

***Raw beef, apple and summer truffle (15 pound supplement)- Hubby figured he would go all out and he was glad he did.  The dish was (perhaps unnecessarily) served with dry ice so it was smoking when it arrived at the table, but it was the flavours inside the apple that stole the show.  The raw beef was very smooth and was made more decadent by the shaved truffles.

Wild stems, langoustine and clam broth (2 part dish)

Lamb, grilled salad and sheep's yogurt (3 part main)

Vegetarian main (kindly substituted for me!)- They could not have chosen better substitutions, since eggplant and mushrooms are amongst my very favourite veggies, especially when they are prepared this well!

 Foie gras, cherry and nasturtium

***Lemon pre-dessert- I just loved lemon, and this light dessert course was nothing short of heavenly.   We loved the main desserts too, but this was truly the standout. 

Bitter chocolate, wild berries and buttermilk

English strawberry, camomile and sweet cicely

 Almond and dill


Overall verdict?

I just love this place for its enthusiasm and its obvious desire to leave guests with an abundance of fond memories.  I sure did!  Sellers is obviously a very talented and very ambitious chef, and this really came through in his food.  Admittedly, there were a few misses throughout the night but with 20 dishes, it would be difficult to achieve perfection with every dish.  Some may argue that quality is better than quantity, and they certainly have a point, but there is no doubt that the seemingly unending procession of dishes played a part in making our night so magical.

Story gives its guests not only a great meal, but a whole night of unprecedented entertainment from start to finish.

Restaurant Story on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I'm living vicariously through you restaurant reviews. one thing to point out:
    Are you sure that was liquid nitrogen with Andrew's apple and raw beef dish? it's most likely dry ice (CO2).