Tom Sellers is a bit of a hero. At the age of just 26 he has worked out the recipe for the perfect restaurant: rediscover a great venue, conjure up an imaginative concept and invent a concise creative menu to wow guests. It is unsurprising considering his experience, which includes a stint in Copenhagen’s (and perhaps the world’s) greatest restaurant, Noma.
Every aspect of Story restaurant is inspired by books and literary references. A jumbled collection of donated books from previous diners covers one wall whilst every table is laid with a book as the centerpiece in which the menu is hidden.
Sellers speaks about his mission and his belief that food and memories are intrinsically linked.
“Many memories are based around food – we’ve all got one… at Story, I want to share my memories with my diners through what they see, smell and taste on the plate, at the same time showcasing the best seasonal, British produce. My hope is that the dishes will inspire them and create memories for them that last long after they have left the restaurant.”
Story has recently received a Michelin star and consequently the prices have inflated, 6 courses for £55 or 10 courses for £75. On a Friday evening we experienced the elaborate six-course menu:
Bread and dripping
Onion and English plum
Heritage potato, turnip and coal
Wild duck, apple and bilberry
Almond and dill
Wild berries, chocolate and buttermilk
Before the main meal commenced, we were treated to (in quick succession) six little tasters, quirky anecdotes to awaken the mind and tastebuds. Wildy creative and beautifully presented, our favourites were the grilled corn-on-the-cob with creamy mustard sauce, and the squid ink oreo biscuit.
Bread and dripping is perhaps the most innovative course of the meal, I feel almost guilty giving away the secret… A real candle made from beef fat melts gradually into a drip tray that you can then eat with the pouch of bread provided. It is delightfully unexpected.
The next course is focused on onions, one of Tom Sellers’ most treasured ingredients. He believes this staple vegetable is often overlooked and at Story he creates an impressively flavoursome dish with this in mind.
Creamed potato with turnip and sticky black coal sauce was a strange but tasty course. The wild duck, for me, was a little disappointing. The smoked method of cooking left an unpleasant smell wafting around the table.
Sneaking an extra course in before dessert, we couldn’t resist nodding in approval at the suggestion of truffle-stuffed cheese and homemade crisp bread. Needless to say, this luxurious soft cheese was an excellent addition to the meal and one of my favourite courses.
The sweets were rather unconventional, almond and dill was an adventurous mix of flavours, the white and green contrasting shockingly on the plate. Then the chocolate came, a dark and mysterious combination of forbidden fruits and chocolate crumble. Before we could let out a relieved sigh, final extra delicacies arrived; homemade teacakes and rum-based mini milkshakes.
Whimsical and wonderful, I found the Story restaurant to be utterly unique and charming. Well worth the price tag to experience a young, brilliant British chef’s vision.
More information and book here: www.restaurantstory.co.uk