Michelin star chef, Tom Sellers, has brought his team down to Cornwall for the Story by the Sea pop-up restaurant.
Up-ing your entire team from London and moving them down to Cornwall for 6 weeks is no easy feat, but that’s exactly what Tom Sellers has done this summer. His London-based Michelin star restaurant, Story, has been temporarily closed while a new pop-up restaurant (named ‘Story by the Sea’) has opened up at the Carbis Bay Estate near St. Ives.
Story is well known for its exceptional quality and ever-evolving menu of seasonal ingredients and British cuisine, tailoring each dish to the customer’s preferences, while the focus of ‘Story by the Sea’ is one of sustainability and using local suppliers to bring a thoughtful tasting menu to the coast.
I was incredibly excited to be invited to try out the new menu, and what a location for it too!
I’ve only been to Carbis Bay a couple of times, and it really is the most beautiful, exclusive little cove. With its white sand, and turquoise, tropical-looking waters surrounded by trees, it definitely looks more like the kind of bay you’d stumble upon on a Mediterranean island somewhere.
We were shown to our table and offered drinks to go alongside our collection of appetisers. The first one being a savoury ‘Storeo’, made with a goats cheese filling. You’ll notice from these photos that every dish was presented beautifully on an eclectic mix of crockery that perfectly suited each item, and you can tell a lot of thought has gone into the interior design of the restaurant.
The view from the restaurant was truly breathtaking too. Because it’s high up on the top floor of Carbis Bay Hotel’s beachfront building, featuring floor to ceiling glass windows, you really do get uninterrupted views of the whole bay and further along to Gwithian and Godrevy lighthouse.
Each table had a candle lit and an envelope with the menu listed as a reminder, presented with a wax seal. In the evenings, the restaurant serves a 6 course tasting menu, while at lunch time a 5 or 4 course version is available, and the pop-up is open every single day for both for the whole 6 weeks. You’ll notice as well that the 6 course menu is actually essentially 8 courses, due to the appetisers and treats we were served at the end – a really wonderful surprise!
The second of our appetisers came out; rabbit for Alex and glazed carrot for me, served in these beautiful moss panels. The kitchen kindly tweaked the menu for me to include fish and no meat, but it seemed like this was absolutely no trouble at all and something they’re very used to doing at their London restaurant.
Alex and I both had cocktails to drink (strong – tread carefully! 😉), and our third appetiser of crab tart with seaweed crisps came out looking extremely elegant.
Our first ‘official’ dish of the menu was the tomatoes served with a vanilla jus, and you’ll be surprised to hear that this was Alex’s favourite course! Considering he didn’t even like tomatoes and wouldn’t eat them until a year ago, I’d say this was a pretty impressive feat.
Every single dish this evening tasted divine, but I admit the flavours in this one were unlike what either of us had tried before and something we both were wow-ed by.
Next up was the course I had most been looking forward to, and the one I would probably say was my favourite, the Cornish lobster served with leek and horseradish sauce. Throughout the dish, they had used all three parts of the lobster; claws, head and tail, and it truly was heavenly. You really can’t beat juicy, succulent lobster meat!
Our third dish was something totally different from the others; monkfish in a cheese and truffle oil sauce. I loved this item – very comforting and warming after the fresh tastes we’d had previously.
This was followed shortly by our ‘main’ course; once again they had altered the menu for me which was very kind. Alex had Cornish lamb while I had cod served with apple gel and crisped corn. Both dishes were exquisite and so beautifully presented as well.
Next up was our desserts, and I absolutely loved the quirky lopsided bowl our first item – ‘lemon sherbet’ – was served in. Lemon posset is one of my all time favourite desserts, and it looked so picturesque against the pastel blue backdrop too.
Our final dessert course was this decadent strawberries, champagne and clotted cream dish. I don’t know how they created this light, mousse-y strawberry swirl piece but my goodness it was delicious! It tasted like marshmallows and vanilla and strawberry champagne all in one.
By this time we were pretty full, and honestly thought we were finished! We came to the end of our drinks and even nearly asked for the bill, but good job we didn’t – as next thing we knew, an incredible assortment of sweet treats came to the table.
Dark chocolate caramel pieces designed to look like the Shard (the famous building overlooked by the Story restaurant in London) paired with cacao cigars, and the most INCREDIBLE toffees I have tasted in my life! We were both obsessed with these…
Elderflower toffees which looked pretty unassuming, but these were honestly one of my favourite parts of the meal. I am a big fan of toffee and these were honestly the best I’ve ever had AND not only that, but the wrappers were all completely edible as they were made of potato starch! You could pop the whole thing into your mouth and enjoy the treat.
This brings me on to this pop-up’s sustainability initiatives. The Restaurant Story team have partnered up with ocean campaigners, Parley, to help remove a total of 50 metric tonnes of plastic from the oceans. Tom and the team believe firmly that the ocean and all its life is a gift and we need to preserve it and work to address the huge plastic issue. It’s great to hear about a player in the food industry taking such a proactive step!
The service was absolutely impeccable throughout our meal as well; each dish was brought out promptly, and the lovely team were all incredibly friendly as they talked us through each dish as it came out.
I can’t recommend this experience enough if you are looking for a special treat or wanting to make the most of this Michelin star chef being present in Cornwall! Restaurant Story in London is notoriously hard to get a table at, so you don’t want to miss this!
*This experience was gifted in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own. We had an amazing evening!