I can’t even count the number of times I passed next to this restaurant and didn’t actually realise that it was a Michelin starred hidden gem near Tower Bridge. I have to give credit to my friend Elmé and her husband Xen for finding it and inviting us to join them for dinner one evening. I highly recommend booking a table as early as possible (by 7:30pm) because the dinner does take much longer than you expect. We were there for 4 hours and didn’t even feel the time pass!
Restaurant Story is not very big and the setting is simple yet chic. There is actually nothing I can fault about the restaurant. From the food, to the service, to the attention to detail, to the incredible matching of flavours and textures, it just blows your mind! Every single bite takes you on an incredible journey, which is simply indescribable. I can carry on singing this restaurant’s praises but I should probably start describing my experience a bit more.
When we went in November 2014, they had 2 types of menus: a 6-course option or a 10-course one. As much as we are big eaters, we chose the 6-course menu. I loved the fact that they did not rush us at all during our meal and just waited for us to arrive and gave us our time to look at the wine list. They have a very very impressive wine list and even though we normally don’t struggle to choose our wine, we decided to ask their sommelier, Seamus, to give us advice. He chose a delicious 2010 French red wine from the Languedoc region. Once we were ready, they started bringing us small snacks, which we had no idea about. They were small bites of explosions of flavours in our mouths; surprise snacks which we kept welcoming every time they came back with something new. From smoked prawns, to crispy cod skin and caviar mousse, to rabbit mousse in a doughy yet crunchy pastry, to a fresh seafood extravaganza, to their take on oreo, and the final snack was the smallest yet tastiest cottage pie I have ever had! Everything, and I mean everything, was packed with flavour and the attention to detail was just incredible.
After this unexpected introduction to our meal, we were extremely excited for the next part. Our first official course was called Bread and dripping. It was strong sourdough bread, which we dipped in beef fat. This does not sound very appealing but wait till you see their take on beef dripping…
Yes their dripping is creatively turned into a candle that they light before they bring out the bread. So all you need to do is take the freshly baked bread and dip it in the dripping from the ‘candle’. How smart is the chef (Tom Sellers)? What a brilliant idea!
Our next course was the Onion, apple and old tom. It consisted of onions cooked 3 ways: grilled, caramelised and confit. It was served with an apple and gin sauce which simply takes the dish to another level. I am not a fan of gin but all I wanted was more of that sauce. Tom just continued to amaze me every time a new dish came to our table. I am speechless but all I can say is that it only gets better.
After this course, we got yet another surprise dish which was not on the menu: a very buttery brioche served with pickled cucumber and a spread. It was foie gras, topped with a layer of parsley butter, all that covered with normal butter. It complimented the delicious brioche very well and I just wanted more!
The third actual course on our tasting menu was the Heritage potato, radish and coal. I am normally not a big fan of mashed potatoes at all but at Restaurant Story, they’ve managed to make me fall in love with mashed potatoes. It was creamy, buttery, smooth and perfectly seasoned. It was topped with pickled radish then drizzled in coal oil which added another dimension to the whole dish. Presentation was once again spot on.
Our fourth course was a deer extravaganza, cooked four ways: deer ball, deer parcel, roasted loin, and slow cooked belly (I think). Each type had its own distinct flavours and texture but they all worked together in harmony on the plate. This dish is called Fallow deer, yeast and dandelion.
As this was our main course, it was now time to move on to dessert. There are two dessert courses on the tasting menu but before that, we were given a palette cleanser which consisted of an explosion of lemon in our mouths: lemon sorbet, lemon curd, lemon soil and white chocolate cream. It was delicious! I would have been very content with this as my dessert but all I can say is that it made me so excited for the rest of the menu. I usually look forward to dessert the most and this only fuelled my excitement.
Now before showing you our desserts, I must admit that their flavour combinations may seem odd or unusual but I can assure you that they work and only confirm how much of a genius Tom Sellers is. Our fifth course was Pumpkin, burnt clementine and cardamon. It consisted of a pumpkin sorbet (yes!), clementine pieces, probably poached in some juice because they were soft, cardamon pieces and some jus. It was light, yet perfectly sweet.
But as they say, you always save best for last and this was definitely the case here. Our sixth and final course was called Almond and dill. Perfect name because that’s exactly what it was about: almond sorbet, almond cream, almond butter, almond soil with dill soil and dill sauce. This may sound odd but I quote Youssef here when I say that it was simply mind blowing! He doesn’t even like dill but he did not stop talking about this dessert. The flavours work so well together, it’s just unbelievable!
At this point, I wanted to get up and hug everyone in that kitchen because it was the perfect ending of the best culinary experience I’ve ever had. If you are looking for a special meal, I highly recommend this restaurant. Book in advance because there are a very limited number of seats there and the whole experience takes a few hours. I would love to go back in the summer to try a completely different menu, filled with seasonal surprises which I am sure will be just as original, unexpected yet perfectly executed and balanced.
PS: I had pictures of every course but a sync accidents lead to me losing them all…