Tom Sellers is one of the London restaurant scenes bright young stars. At the youthful age of 26; he has worked in many a famous kitchen, including Noma in Copenhagen, Per Se in the USA, Tom Aitkens and Trinity in London. On April 16th 2013, Tom opened the doors to his own restaurant, The Restaurant Story, on Tooley Street in London, and The Positive went to check it out.
Based on the site of the old Victorian public toilets just a stone throw away from Tower Bridge and Shad Thames, the venue is as unique as Sellers and his food. With a fantastic airy feel to the open plan dining room where you can see all the kitchen staff bustling away like busy bees, and an unspoilt view of the Shard, one immediately feels at ease. The room blends the intricacies and details of a children’s story with the minimalism that is not uncommon in London’s fine dining arena.
The food and menu are inspired, unsurprisingly, by a collection of stories; either from Tom’s life or from books. There is a flow to the menu and the progression is uncannily akin to a good book that one cannot put down. There are two menus available. 10 courses at £65 a head, or 6 courses at £45, although if this is too much for you at lunch, you can choose any three dishes for £35, and whichever one you choose, the flow does not diminish. On top of this, everything in the room has something to say, from the hand blown water decanters from the glass museum on Bermondsey Street to the bookshelf that is slowly being filled with the favourites of the diners.
The key, however, to the genius and the part that takes one back to a more innocent time of childhood in terms of the sheer excitement of waiting for it, is the food. The signature dish that is accompanied by amuse bouches that could have come straight from the table of the Madhatter’s Tea Party, is the bread and dripping, which is a candle made of beef fat, lit and dripping into the candle stand, with handmade bread housed within a book-like leather case.
All the food is unique and with a twist that could only be produced by a culinary star. You can see that the team here marry precision with outlandish, very different and unique ideas. Looking through the menu may have you scratching your head wondering what “mermaid’s hair” actually is, or why anyone would want to make the too salty and too sweet porridge of the three bears. The dishes work and are quite a joy to experience. The Burnt Onion with its apple, gin and thyme sauce is divine in both concept and execution and the scallops with cucumber and dill is turned into a work of art with the dill ash.
All the dishes mix together a blend of culinary master class with a matchless creativity, and pair well to the wine list, which contains Tom’s own tasting notes. This is certainly an experience that will bring out the inner child in you. What Tom is doing here is unique and different, and he is telling his story through cuisine. Luckily this author has found the perfect publishers in its kitchen staff to get the readers in.
Tom Seller’s Restaurant Story
201 Tooley Street,
London, SE1 2UE
Lunch: three courses £35 per head
Lunch & Dinner: six courses £45 per head or 10 courses £65 per head