Restaurant Story *

One of the most widely talked about restaurants in the London scene since its grand debut last year, Restaurant Story

History and Background: 

11 courses. 23 dishes and 1 pot of quail tea…

“Our dishes are an edible story, each one inspired by a memory”

Tom Seller’s culinary debut (April 2013) with Restaurant Story, amassed worldwide popularity with chefs, critics, sommeliers alike. With everyone trying to take a sneak peek at what the next best thing in town is all about. It doesn’t come cheap though, only 2 set menus on the book at 6 courses for £65.00, or 10 courses for £85.00. But it’s a bloggers paradise. You would not think that a new opening at what was formerly an old public toilet site, in the middle of Bermondsey, would acclaim instant success, but it did. Tom’s impressive resume and experience made it a much anticipated debut to the food industry.

An understandably long post, I won’t be writing much, lets get cracking…

The meal: [10 course tasting menu, £85 + but we had an extra course for £15 more]

Restaurant Story review
Cod skin, smoked cod roe and gin botanicals
Storeos

So before our 11 courses, you’re given 7 amuse-bouches. The cod skin, a clear resemblance to a garden patch, the design so delicate, so elegant. The second of the amuse-bouches, storeos, so clever and so witty. If you’re expecting it to taste like those oreo biscuits then think again. The smoked eel mousse melts on your tongue as you gently bite down the crunchy squid ink biscuit…

Restaurant Story review
Maybe one day we will see a mass production of storeos too… “Storeos, coming to a restaurant near you”
Snack number 3: Smoked Prawns
eatwithsteph, Restaurant Story
Snack number 4: Rabbit, tarragon and carrot

The prawns were really soft, and had plenty of taste to it. Laid on cling film, very sleek. At Story, it is all about the art of plating. Next up, rabbit sandwich, tarragon cream & carrot. Below we have the chicken, red mustard and soy. The focus was on the sauces here, since chicken on skewers is not something new. A new combination of flavours gave this little amuse-bouche its originality. (Photo taken by phine)

Chicken, red mustard and soy

Whip out your phones, your cameras, your SLRs and get ready:

“SOS” Snacks of the Sea

This amuse bouche is such a work of art. (It was served by a good looking chef too…) As the gigantic bowl of what looked like to be dry ice, was SOS, Snacks of the Sea. This consisted of Nasturtium and oyster – of which we did not realise that the flower was edible. None of us ate the flowers! Razor clam, crispy barley and Champagne, raw langoustine, devilled crab, scallop and apple were also present. The last of the amuse-bouches was the ox tail. Such an inventive, chic design. Tastiest out of all amuse-bouches so far.

A seafood island. Dry ice slowly sifting away
This little creature says, hi. Say “hi”
The last of the 7: Ox tail, pickled vegetables and potato
Course 1: Bread and dripping

COURSE 1: This is one of Tom’s original courses that he showcases prior to creating Restaurant Story. Dripping candle is actually beef fat and is edible. Warm sourdough, and rotten apple jelly. COURSE 2: Onions galore. Charred. Soft, caramelised Roscoff onions, a soft baby onion, an onion crisp, and apple consomme dressing, with gin and lemon thyme. Plenty of flavours here. Fresh off the ground.

Course 2: Onion, apple and old tom.
If you like your onions… here’s your dish.
Course 3: Scallops cucumber and dill ash

Scallops were soft and succulent but not as good as Sketch, beautifully created though. The scallops, thinly sliced, marinated in elderflowe vinegar, served with horseradish milk, and dill oil. Accompanied by a small bowl of crunchy cucumber balls. We are given another snack below, brioche bread with black truffle and foie gras butter. Genius.

Another snack! Brioche bread with foie gras and black truffle
It’s all about layers here. Soft, and oozes into your mouth… with the combination of brioche
Heritage potato, radish and coal
Tom Seller's Restaurant Story
So intricate. If there is such thing as Miss Food… it would go to this beauty.

The camera’s favourite! Astonishingly beautiful. COURSE 4: I know you can get mash anywhere, but mash here was amazing. Creamy, and soft Apache potatoes mashed together with a touch of turnip halves and pitch black coal oil.

Photo number 3 of a pohhtato.

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So 2.2 hours gone by, and we’re half way through, hurrah! Mel and Daisy above, and Allan below. All enjoying the lovely Heritage Potato course.

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Quail at Restaurant Story.

THEY BROUGHT OUT TWO REAL DEAD QUAILS AND THEIR EGGS

COURSE 5: Tale of a quail. It is very out there. The display of two seemingly dead quails were very unexpected. A rhetorical question… would you be able to eat after this? Daisy didn’t!

“Tale of a quail” and what a poor tale this ended up being for the quail…

DSC07776This little canape was really my favourite. There was something about it I loved. Reminiscent of dung, or some sort of excrement but it was surprisingly tasty. Quail tea was unique, though, slightly salty.

Tom Seller’s at his best.
Heart, liver, thigh, leg, eggs

(Above photo taken by phine). So, the longest course of the meal gave us a taster to all parts of the quail. Good to know nothing’s going in the bin…

Quail breast with corn puree
Restaurant Story
Beef tartar, apple and Perigord truffle

COURSE 6: Surprisingly, I didn’t really like this. I guess I’m not actually a fan of tartar. It’s such an exquisite dish though, beautiful. The bottom of the apple was truffle mayonnaise. Tartar was topped with cubes of apple and bacon, white truffle and a thin layer of jelly.

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DSC07827COURSE 7: Squid and stem tartare. Didn’t make a very lasting impression. Seems like a let down when in comparison to previous dishes. This was about the time when Daisy started running out of battery… remember to charge up before visiting!

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Fallow deer, yeast and dandelion

COURSE 8: One of my favourites of the night. Succulent, tender, crispy, soft, it was all there. Had an excellent puree along and toppled with nuts. Amazing. The aroma and scent filled your insides, giving you a long lasting impression.

It’s 3.16am and my mouth is beginning to water and dribble. I have a flight to catch in 4 hours…
Foie gras, grapes and sorrel.
Foie gras, grapes and sorrel.
Looks like creme brulee doesn’t it?

COURSE 9: Now Mel is a massive fan of foie gras, I’m indifferent to it. I’m more into softer creamier foie gras than cubed. This was creamy. Good creamy.

PRE-DESSERT: Now this was good. A restaurant knows how to regain the interest of the diner when it offers a pre-dessert. It’s very hard to top the ‘texture’ pre-dessert, but this was just as brilliant. Refreshing your tastebuds with more neutral, savoury flavours. Meringue, cream and lemon ice shaving and some white chocolate. Very wintery.

Refreshing the taste buds and preparing the diner for the desserts.
Pumpkin, burnt clementine and cardamon

COURSE 10: I didn’t like this… because I don’t usually like anything clementine flavoured. Nice try though.

COURSE 11: Almond and dill. Such beauty and creativity in this course. The almond ice cream is supplemented well by the almond crumble. Really clever colours used here. Very almond-y, very milky, and a great combination of dill oil and dill snow makes this dish the one to wait for.

Restaurant story
Almond and dill
Grand finale.

PETITE FOURS: Rosy marshmallow teacakes. A nice end to a very, very, long meal.

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Service: Casual settings, young staff, professional but not overly formal. 12.5% service charge. Due to the originality and the constituents of some dishes, it was recommended for them to explain the dish to you. At times, the explanation of the dish wasn’t too clear cut, too wordy. It is easy to lose focus to what they’re saying especially with the distraction of the course in front of you.

Bits and bobs:

  • Coat hanging service
  • Please allow 4 hours to eat a 10 courser
  • Try some wine. They’re known for it too
  • Can be hard to find. Get a map out.

Price: ££££

Restaurant Story on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Kintan

Matt, Toby and Athena (or rather, Athena’s hand) in eager anticipation for their meal to come

History and Background:

Newly renovated, newly opened, (July 2014), Kintan acclaims itself as London’s first yakiniku restaurant. Centrally located in High Holborn, a place bustling with City workers, you’ll find it hard to be seated during its busiest hours. With a considerably large dining area, it accommodates up to 130 seats. Kintan has actually already achieved worldwide success, the name not uncommon to most Japanese people, as its authenticity has allowed it to become the number one yakiniku restaurant chain, with restaurants all over Europe, the US, and Jakarta.

All in all, a welcomed addition to the locals, since in recent years, sushi and ramen bars have dominated and over populated the London-Japanese food scene.

The meal: [Set lunch for £17.50]

Salad and Miso soup

There are three different types of lunch set menu’s and you are given a choice out of 6-8 different meats, and you choose 2-4 depending on the set.

Pork Belly
Kalbi short rib

This is the fun part, the DIY-ing. The meat, sweetly marinated and thinly cut, topped with sesame seeds… and with the grill so hot… you can’t wait to get your hands on those tongs!

Matt and Toby makes grilling meat a work of art.
Hungry yet?

Thin slices of finely cut, high quality meat all ready to be eaten within minutes of grilling, tender and succulent.

Alongside the meat, you are given three sauces as dippers and a generous bowl of rice.

Cook it the way you want it. Grilling galore.

Service: One of the slowest customer service I have ever encountered. We were sat around the corner and away from the staff. It got to the point where I had to get out of my seat and order, or request things. Many reviewers on blogs, urbanspoon, and timeout have encountered the same problem. It is important for a restaurant to focus on customer service too, not just food.

Regardless, my colleagues and I have chosen this place for the company’s Christmas lunch this Friday, given the restaurant’s proximity to the firm. Let see if there are any improvements…

Bits and Bobs:

  • They do plenty of deals, prices can be steep, but there are also set lunches/ dinners  at £17.50-£39.95
  • They use an artificial barbeque grill, (as you can see from the photos)
  • Booking highly recommended if going in the evening. They’re not too efficient with seat allocation so do book.

Price: £££

 

texture *

Rest assure you that I do not dine Michelin restaurants on a frequent basis…

History and background:

Set up in 2007 in an exquisite Georgian building a few blocks away the bustling streets of Mayfair lay texture. One that offers European food with Scandinavian and Nordic influences, it’s fair to say that it’s a cuisine rarely seen in London. Simplicity does the trick for its interior décor, neutral and pastel colours that flourish the walls, accompanied by eye-catching modern art. The dining room brims with elegance. Not the biggest of restaurants, but size doesn’t mean everything; this place was proved popular by the abundant amount of corporate professionals with large disposable incomes.

The meal: 

The regular tasting menu is a perfect platform to expose Sverrrison’s creativity.  £79 for 6 courses. More like 8 though.

Appetiser: cod skin

This dish really took me by surprise. It’s such a curious looking dish and a very clever way to capture the diner’s attention. Served with two dips, the flaky cod skins were flavourful and crispy. Very poppadom like. Or similar to crispy seaweed. Or to a more British comparison, potato chips.

Sourdough bread with Icelandic Black Lava Salt and Olive Oil

Another appetizer…or is it?  warm and freshly baked sourdough bread supplemented with black salt, and olive oil. Yummy. I always tell myself not to eat too much bread otherwise I would be too full to eat the actual meal… but my stomach doesn’t listen

The true appetizer: pumpkin soup

Iron bark pumpkin, soup, hazelnuts. It was lukewarm, but was a great starter to the meal, cleverly warming up our taste buds before the next course. There was a hint of sweetness yet a subtle mild taste of hazelnuts that were infused into the soup.

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Winter Vegetables

A fitting theme given the weather right now, winter vegetables! Consisted of chervil root, celeriac, pickled trompette, vegetable nage. You can taste so many different things here. Soupy – given the complementing sauce that emanated from the root vegetables, sweet but also savoury, I devoured it.

Anjou Pigeon. *that claw*

Chargrilled Anjou quail with shallot, sweetcorn puree, red wine essence and bacon popcorn. Yes, bacon popcorn!!! Tender, succulent, but the size of the portion leaves you wanting more.

I repeat… THAT CLAW
The fourth course: Cornish Monkfish

Another rather soupy dish, but cleverly fitted in between two meat dishes. Consisted of shellfish, fregola, pickled vegetables and herbs. The flavours are very clean-cut, lots of different aftertastes and essences, many of which I just couldn’t figure out.

The fifth course, the most distinctive out of the mains
Elwy Valley Fallow Venison

This is what I call precision cooking. Consists of red cabbage, brussel sprouts, bacon, chocolate sauce. Yeah, you heard right, it was exactly that combination. Venison loin, soft juicy and tender. Red cabbage and brussel sprouts made it bitter and sour. Bacon, slightly salty but subtle. Chocolate sauce, a sweet tangy flavour. There were parts that I liked and parts I didn’t. I credit the originality so far in this tasting menu, being able to cover a breadth of flavours, but at times, too many constituents, too many flavours!

The pre-desserts:

Really need to applaud texture with its creativity. Very clever
The pre-dessert, granita with Icelandic skyr

Sometimes simplicity is key, all you need here after 5 courses is something refreshing. Flavoured, sugary ice with Icelandic skyr (type of soft cheese that tastes like yoghurt). This cleverly refreshes your taste buds and rinses out all that you’ve eaten before. Getting you prepped and ready for the finale.

texture restaurant
I liked it so much I’ve included three photos of it. Hehe.
Coconut
Coconut

Grace, Cheukie and I collectively adored this dish. The champion of all courses tonight. Nutty, warm sponge cake with a crispy clean topping. Rich, melty-ish chocolate stabbed with a cute breaded flake and coconut bits sprinkled all over… heaven. Different textures, different flavours, it was warm, it was cold, it was everything.

Chocolate, ice cream and yoghurt
Scandinavian porn. Sorry – Scandinavian FOOD porn

So we thought we were finished, no we were wrong. Petite fours below:

Pretty little island
Capturing everyone’s attention, even Cheukie’s
A picture from every angle… my friends have such patience.

Macaroons. Dark chocolate truffles. Meringues. Warm madeleines, crispy on the outside and sweet on the inside…

Service: Not intrusive. Friendly. Attentive. They did discover that I was a blogger though, and made me feel very welcome, giving me a signed Tasting Menu too… Nevertheless, top notch service is what you expect at a Mayfair, Michelin starred restaurant.

Bits and bobs:

  • Semi-open kitchen
  • Prestigious “New Restaurant of the Year” from the Independent in 2010
  • Xavier Rousset was the youngest Master Sommelier in the world at 23
  • Has award winning wine credentials, extensive variety offering 110 different champagnes
  • The restaurants 28°-50° are subsequently owned the owners of texture

Price: ££££

Texture on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Mele E Pere

A restaurant with style. A restaurant that’s contemporary. Mele E Pere

History and background:

A fairly new restaurant, opened up in the heart of Soho in February 2012. It has since been compared to the likes of Arburtus, but Mele E Pere isn’t quite there yet. The founders of Mele E Pere were chefs at the Michelin-stared Wild Honey back in 08′.

Upon arrival, you will be met by the row of Murano glass apples and pears hung out on the shelf wall. Interesting design, and certainly unique, and this chic concept is prominent in the whole of the restaurant. With fancy, odd anglepoise lamps, and mismatched chairs, the interior really sets this Italian restaurant apart from the others. (

Mele E Pere in English is Apple and Pear).

The meal:

Mushroom and pea risotto

I think they may have taken this dish off the menu since I’ve been, as it is no where to be found online. The price range was between £11-17 pounds. This was far too salty, and I don’t like complaining at restaurants, but this one I had to call the waiter. Far too salty. They redid this dish for me (more like, they diluted it with water…)

Snails with pecorino, parsley and guanciale

This also may no longer be on the menu either, but it was my favourite sharing dish. Snails in batter with, I think, guacamole dip. Chewy and tender, great taste.

DSC06346_1Hand chopped beef tartar. Not bad not bad.

Deep fried squid with smoked alioli

I really liked this one, the dip that came with it was so tasty and succulent. It’s a shame that this encounter was a while back so I’m not equipped to really describe this to you. I would definitely give this restaurant another go despite some poor experience with the mains. My brother Nelson, had the blank ink squid pasta, I thought it was too salty, but he liked it.

Do give this place a go! Very promising dishes on the menu. (They do 2, 3 course deals as well as set party deals).

Service: We came at a very odd time, so the restaurant wasn’t busy. Nice staff, and attended to my complaint well.

Bits and bobs:

  • The main dining area is downstairs, whereas upstairs you eat on high stools and tables with a bar area.
  • Very over lit. Wear sunglasses.

Price: ££