Books and food are two things that are very close to my heart. When I heard about Story, a restaurant that serves dishes each inspired by its own story and that encourages its diners to bring along and leave a book behind that inspires others, I knew that this was a place for me to try. There’s also the small fact that Tom Sellers (previously at Per Se and Noma) is the headline chef of this relatively new restaurant and that the restaurant’s just received its first Michelin star a few days ago, but pish posh, minor details really.
This restaurant is located along one of my favourite running routes. I had therefore seen it before I knew what it was. To the unassuming on-looker from the outside, the building looks more like an out of place old-fashioned Nordic living room, complete with bookshelves, simple wooden furniture and an antique phone. It really wasn’t what I was expecting, but the unconventional decor did take away the pretentiousness of fine dining which I dislike, giving it a more casual atmosphere. Definitely my kind of restaurant. The fact that the large glass windows face out directly to views of the Shard was a nice touch.
There were only two choices on offer – the 6 course taster menu or the 10 course taster menu. Being the bottomless pit that I am, there are no prizes for guessing which one I went for.
Upon minutes of us being seated, our waitress started serving us a quick-fire series of amuse bouches. I was quite confused at first and thought that these were part of the 10 courses, but was pleasantly surprised to find that these were just 6 pre-starters outside of the main menu. Whilst I didn’t always agree with each one, they were all beautiful to look at.
There was one other pre-starter of radishes filled with seaweed butter that was gobbled up too quickly. My suggestion? They should make these rabbit sandwiches a little bigger – they were just wonderful but over in 1 bite! 😉
Then we were on to the actual 10 course menu.
As it turns out the candle the waitress had brought over when we had first sat down was actually made of beef dripping. Our first course was a loaf of sourdough, which came nice, warm and cosy in a leather pouch, held together by a wooden peg. The dark bread was to be eaten with a relish of celery and veal cubes, dipped in the liquid beef dripping that was collecting in the candlestick holder. Innovative for sure, but I can’t say I particularly enjoyed mopping up liquid fat with my bread. Putting that to one side, the sourdough loaf itself was soft on the inside and crispy on the outside – perfect.
Course 2 seemed to be an original take on onion soup. Who knew that a dish comprising of almost only onions could be so delicious. The broth which the dish came with was really very good.
I’m not the biggest fan of seafood but I do love a good scallop. These raw scallops coupled with little balls of fresh cucumber will do just nicely! This course was followed up by more seafood, this time mackerel. What the mackerel was served with, I’m not quite sure – I admit I couldn’t quite catch all of the inspirational stories behind the various dishes as the cooks and waitresses were all speaking so softly. Or maybe it’s just me going deaf.
Then came the mashed potato dish. Literally the best mashed potato I have ever tasted in my life! It was smooth and filled with buttery goodness. The butter apparently comes from a small farm in England and was voted the best butter in the world recently. I think I agree. The black you see in the photo there is coal oil. Sounds unappetising but it actually brought things together very nicely.
This high was followed by two lows. I’m not a fan of “sweet” food that isn’t meant to be eaten as a snack or dessert. This beetroot and raspberry combo just didn’t sit well with me. The horseradish “snow” was interesting to try, but I’m not a fan of horseradish either, so all in all, this was not to my liking at all.
Now, I’m normally a big meat fan and love my duck, but I really didn’t like this dish. The taste was a little too strong for me and I felt that the duck was just too undercooked for my personal preference.
After 7 courses, it was time to move on to dessert, starting with almond ice cream and frozen dill. Not bad.
What followed was more iced desserts in different flavours and accompaniments. I enjoyed all of them.
The meal ended with an extra “course” of petit fours that came with bottles of goats milk and strawberry. It was cute and a nice way to end the meal.
Whilst I can’t say that I enjoyed everything on the menu, I did think that all of the food was very well made and beautiful to look at. It is unfortunate that my food photography skills still require some work, but these dishes were a joy to photograph as they all looked so lovely. There were some really interesting combos of ingredients and flavours that I have never come across before, which I think was worth it just to try. The clear winners for me though, were the rabbit sandwich and potato dish.
As an aside, this table beer was also a good one to try for typically non-beer drinkers like myself.
If you’re thinking of trying the Story Restaurant, you’re more likely than not going to have to book in advance for dinner as reservations are hard to come by. Saying that, I got a last minute place for dinner on Saturday night by booking on Thursday evening, so you might get lucky. Alternatively, try reserving a spot for lunchtime instead, when I daresay the menus will be slightly cheaper!