story restaurant is run by tom sellers, a 27-year old chef. it is located in a former toilet nearby london’s tower bridge. it was open in 2013, after an 18-month, 2-million-pound redecoration. the restaurant received its first michelin star in september 2013, only 6 months after it opened.
the chef started working in the industry after he was expelled from school. in romania, we say that any kick in the back is a step ahead. here, the expelled student ended up working with several famous chefs including rene redzepi from noma. not bad!
there is no a la carte. the restaurant offers only two tasting menus: 6 dishes for 60 pounds and 10 dishes for 80 pounds. but it is understandable: our dinner took roughly 3 hours.
we ordered a 6 and a 10 (which is a 6 plus 4 extra dishes). each time there was only one dish served, the waiters didn’t forget to bring an extra plate for us. each dish was served and introduced by various waiters, each with a difficult to distinguish accent.
the number of waiters almost matched the number of guests. they were very thorough and attentive. they watched any little thing: they promptly changed your napkin, brought a new fork or absolutely anything else you could possibly need. our main waiter was a subtly smooth italian who looked like he belonged in a black and white alain delon film. he made us feel at ease, like we were all equal. perfect!
i was prepared for the first dish on the menu, with the list by my side. but first, they brought 7 different kinds of amuse bouche.
first, crisp cod skin dotted with tiny amounts of cod cream and carrot leaves.
then, a couple of faux oreos made with squid ink with smoked eel mousse filling.
radishes served complete with their leaves. each was carved in order to host a little bit of what they called sea butter.
some crisps with thin carrot slices and leaves.
black pudding covered with a thin rectangle of dried apple and apple and blood gel on top. the whole thing mimicked a piece of cake perfectly.
bites of rabbit with tricolor pickled carrot slices
1. bread and dripping
then we had a surprise. i should say that the first real dish arrived, but the truth is that it had been on the table since the beginning. it was a candle made of beef fat that had been burning ever since we had been seated.
we received black bread to soak up the melted fat and a tiny chicken consomme jelly + celery chaser, to cut out the greasy aftertaste. very entertaining and a staple dish for story!
2. onion, apple and old tom
a vividly green alexander flower on top of a clever selection of onion cooked in various ways with a lemon, thyme, apple consomme and gin sauce.
3. scallops, cucumber and dill ash
i agree that ash sounds like a harsh ingredient, but i assure you that it was fine. the dainty ceviche style dish was rather interesting and definitely picturesque.
4. heritage potato, turnip and coal
this was by far my favourite dish. i know it looks like a dollop of mashed potatoes but it was both delicious and visually exciting. when you cut into it, black coal sauce poured out slowly, just like the yolk of a runny egg. i loved it!
5. crab, smoked leek, rapeseed, pear and lovage
fresh crab with 2 cuts of leek, a concentrate of vinegar jelly and thinly sliced pear
6. wild stems, squid and pine honey
the raw squid was bathed in mushroom consomme and covered in nasturium, alexander and other plants.
definitely my least favourite. there was so much chlorophile that it felt a little too much like grazing in the pasture. lol!
7. lamb, grilled salad and sheep yoghurt
heart of lettuce on the grill alongside 3 different cuts of lamb (one of which was head cheese) bathed in lettuce reduction and the aforementioned yoghurt
8. cheese plate – extra
if you are a cheese lover, you will understand just how bewitching these little pieces of roquefort, cheddar and camembert can be. they were served with damson jelly and 2 kinds of bread – wafer thin raisin slices and tiny loaves.
9. pre-desert: acidic grapeseed icecream with crumb sea buckthorn – extra
10. foie gras, pear and sorrel
the fois gras was cooked to taste like a creme brule, all smooth and light, and was served with frozen pear, sorrel and mustard seed
11. hay, prune and cereal
hay salt/ice cream/oil with wild rice, praline and yummy milk skin
12. almond and dill
dill snow and sauce on almond ice cream, decorated with sugar crumble and hearts ease.
13. chocolate coated tea cake with raspberry. the little bottles contained rhubarb puree, custard and goat milk emulsion – extra
so, all in all, 13 dishes plus 7 kinds of amuse bouche equals 20 dishes. we refused one of the dishes in the menu because my boyfriend has a problem with truffle aroma. it was called raw beef, apple and perigolrd truffle and it was served as a red apple on a plate of smoke! i know because i saw it at the tables around us. i would be a little sorry i missed it but i was certainly not hungry at the end of the meal.
the meal was very entertaining and i would totally recommend the experience. if you are ever in london and you’re feeling adventurous, choose story. it’ll be a trip!
photo credits: little aesthete