My friend Matt had told me that Restaurant Story was one of the best meals he had in a long time, so we were excited as he is a great judge of good food (as is his wife…but she didn’t go). He had the six course menu and said he was very happy as it ended up being 13 or so with all the extra nibbles sent by the kitchen. We rebelled and went 10 courses, as the six course seemed to be lacking a real main course…
You can imagine, with all the extra goodies, we had a lot of food… but I am telling myself today it’s ok… they were all small courses…
Right when you sit down the party starts–food starts showing up rapidly and the waiter even guided me to stop taking pictures (or at least snap quicker) or I could miss out on explanations of what was to come. If I understood half of what he said it would certainly have helped also……..I am not great with thick accents……
While the array of nibbles were consumed, the waiter set a suspicious candle on the table and lit it with some difficulty. The antique candle holder really didn’t match the restaurant decor and we were convinced it was part of the meal (apart from my husband who thought it was decoration even after suspiciously sampling the “wax” on his fingertip)… But the nibbles demanded our attention and the candle was left to ambiance for the moment.
Cod skin with dollops of fish mousse: fun way to start and visually cool, but a bit fishy
‘Storeo’ cookie with smoked eel mousse: squid ink cookie, amazing texture and my favorite of all the amuse-bouche
Radishes with seaweed butter: crispy and interesting, was torn on eating the green bits….
Rabbit fingers: with bechamel inside, super hearty and delicious
Frogs legs in cast iron pot: reminded me of a brazilian dish I grew up with called coxinha (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coxinha), yummy breaded goodness
Polenta cracker with carrot shavings: not memorable in any way really
Razor clams: salty and fresh, and coooold, nice contrast with other bites
And then the real meal starts!!!!!!!!
Beef dripping candle wax, wohoooo: with chicken jelly, beef tongue and house made sourdough: The candle had been burning for 15 minutes, and the warm drippings were anxious for some amazing warm bread…..delicious, super interesting and fun. Didn’t really need the side of jelly, etc….
Onion, apple and old tom, which is a type of gin: Nice presentation, onions were a little too charred in my opinion
Scallops, cucumber and dill ash: Fresh and delicious, smooth silky flavor. Decorated with cucumber balls rolled in dill ash. I could have eaten a few more scallop slices
Pig, chicken and langoustine: Chicken mousse contained by marinated trotter that became very soft and interesting and acquired the color of its marinate. He poured a nice consomme and the dish was adorned by a well cooked langoustine. By looking at it we thought it would be our favorite course, it wasn’t
Heritage potato, turnip and coal oil: on the other hand, we didn’t bet on this one but wow, amazing! The potato was so smooth and rich, maybe he stole Joel Robuchon’s recipe and added the coal oil for the innovation factor? We cleaned the plate
Cod alexander and english caviar: absolutely lovely. Nice citrusy touch with the richness of the sauce and the salty caviar. The fish was perfectly white, flaky and delicious
They have a few +£15 pounds courses and he said if we had the sweetbreads instead of the beef, it would be extra £7.50. We had one sweetbread and one beef between us so we could try all….
Veal sweetbreads with turnips, pine berries and wild chervil: I usually expect sweetbreads to be breaded and fried and crunchy, they weren’t but the texture was still great and flavors well-balanced. Nice hazelnut pesto with it and even though he said anise liqueur, it was a very subtle touch (I hate anise)
Beef, grains, watercress: Came with nice al-dente barley and the beef was tender and buttery and the watercress puree was fresh and bright
Not in the menu palate cleanser: I had to ask the waiter several times what the dish was, and I am not sure I get it. Was rapeseed sorbet (canola) with some snow made of sea-buckthorn which was some sort of crazy and wildly sour berry (but good for you full of vitamin C he swore) and a crumble sort of thing…..skip!
Almond and dill: ok, I guess now we are in the dessert part of the meal, definitely not my usual definition of dessert but surprisingly delicious. The almond part with almond ice cream, almond milk skin, almond brittle and almond salt, with dill snow. All almond components were sweet and creamy, and the snow was a nice addition, if nothing else at least to make the plate look gorgeous
Lovage, oyster leaf, milk and apple: The oyster leaf was just odd, why do I want oyster taste in my dessert? Didn’t love
English pear, artichoke and verbena: Nice, the artichokes actually added interesting flavor profile and texture but where is my chocolate, salted caramel, coffee, or any other rich delicious dessert flavors I need?
The desserts were very repetitive and we started to get bored, they looked similar and all had a scoop of some ice cream, with some snow and oil on the plate….enough. Its winter, a warm gooey dessert would have closed the meal in a high note and left a perfect impression.
Petit fours: wow, is that chocolate I see? Yes, rose and raspberry tea cakes dipped in chocolate. On the side, rhubarb puree, custard and goat’s milk emulsion in a cute glass jar with a straw. More like desserts but still fell a bit flat and lacked richness.
I would say that up until the almond and dill dessert, the meal was great and fun, then it got repetitive and a bit boring….
And it may be me, but servers need to be better at explaining the dishes and not losing their cool when I ask three times what sea buckthorn is (how unsophisticated and ignorant of me not to know……)……
But still a very cool meal, and fun and worth it…..go try it out!
But an occasion type of place, I didn’t wake up the next morning thinking, wow, can’t wait to eat dill ash again…… Friends we were dining with swear they have a list of places they crave, and we will have to explore.
In sum: Matt was right, but I always trusted his (maybe his wife’s even more) taste in food. I even asked them to be guest contributors to the blog as London food experts but they are playing hard to get
Restaurant Story (www.restaurantstory.co.uk/)