It was time for the annual Mr Smith Xmas party, with a difference, an amazing night at Restaurant Story…
As with tradition ‘The Mrs Smith’ joined Mr Smith for the annual bash. This year was going to be a big challenge as the last 3 have been exceptional and The Mrs Smith keeps saying that the nights get better, could this keep up the standard?
Starting out with a quick pre dinner drink at 40 Maltby Street, a superb find, the signs were good. A glass of delicious wine each, both natural, one red for Mr Smith and an Orange for The Mrs Smith. Sadly we did not have long there, but it is noted as a venue for a Saturday afternoon after a visit to the market.
It was time to head for the restaurant, a quick 5 minute walk and we were there. The restaurant is on a small triangle of land near to Tower Bridge and walking in we received a lovely welcome and were shown to the table.
Having done some research Mr Smith knew what the concept was, but this was going to be a surprise for The Mrs Smith.
As with tradition it was going to be a tasting menu and as normal the only decision was whether to match wines or not. The obvious answer to that is YES! After all the restaurant and Sommelier know what works with their food.
When the Sommelier came over Mr Smith recognised him from one of his favourite wine bars, where he had done some consulting, so the level of confidence in the matching went up.
The good thing was that it was not all matched wines, cocktails, sake and cider as well! This all just makes for an even more interesting experience.
Mr Smith will try not to give too much away in terms of some of the food, flavours and surprises so as not to ruin things for other dinners.
It was time for the story to begin. Kicking off with the Foreword it was the snacks, all 5 of them and they were amazing. Starting with crispy cod skin, then the ‘Storeo’, puffed potato and English Caviar (yes that is a new one and very nice it was as well), rabbit terrine and finally sausages. 3 different ones and all amazing in terms of taste and texture.
Was it time for the first chapter? Not quiet, the amuse bouche was next before it was time to get stuck in to Chapter 1, Childhood.
By this point Mr Smith was very confident that this was going to be up their with the best.
So the first chapter of the Story really did evoke memories of childhood. The bread and dripping, Michelin style, with beef extract (or as Mr Smith referred to it, Bovril), was amazing. The Onion and Gin was a real sensation.
Next up was Chapter 2, Sea. 3 incredible dishes of Razor Clam, Scallop and a foraged ramen with 9 little accompaniments to go in it. They were all taste sensations.
Before Mr Smith moves on the extra course the bread had to be mentioned. Yes, it was a perfect brioche loaf and the butter was something special to go with it, layered with herbs and fois gras, could it be any better?
As mentioned there had been a choice to opt for an extra dish of celeriac with white truffle. Well it is Xmas so it had to be done and it was a very good move. The taste from the truffle was incredible and the celeriac was perfect and done in a risotto style.
Now for what would be the simplest dish to describe, potato and coal, but not simple in terms of flavour. The coal added to the potato, but the star was the mash! When the waitress tells you that it was 50% potato and 50% butter you know it will be good and boy was it ever!
Next up was the venison, done in 4 ways and all sublime
Up until this point the matching drinks had been incredible and seemingly getting better with each course, but the wines to go with these 2 dishes need to be mentioned. The Mrs Smith is not a red wine drinker but at the end of the meal it was noted that the 2 with these dishes were her favourite. A gorgeous Frappato from Sicily and then a big, bold, but smooth Syrah from Torbreck in Australia (Mr Smiths favourite)
Before the final chapter kicked off the pre dessert really cleared the pallete and provided a lovely freshness.
Sadly it was then time for the final chapter – The End. Some of this was back to childhood with the candy floss (but so much better than you could even get at the fair) and then it became a lot more sophisticated again with the pear, artichoke and rose and it was finished off with a real kick from the almond and dill.
Mr Smith was delighted that this final dish was paired with a late harvest Riesling from the Clare Valley, one of his favourite styles to go with dessert.
A perfect end!
Well, not quite because the petit fors came out and really did finish thing off.
So had it done it? Could it be ranked as better than the previous years? The Mrs Smith confirmed it was definitely the best she has had. Now that leaves Mr Smith with problems for next year, how to beat it again! The think cap has been on and plans are being made!
20 dishes (21 if you include the bread) and 10 drinks including the champagne to start, a pretty perfect evening had come to and end. The only challenge now was getting back to the hotel, it was gone midnight and Mr Smith just about got the last but one tube back home while The Mrs Smith headed off on one in another direction. Not the longest meal, but right up there, 4 1/2 hours, all of which were perfectly paced and no long gaps.
Mr Smith dinned on 20th December 2016