by Mike Fairbrass - Monday September 25, 2017 10:09 am
Is this the end of the ice bucket? Mike goes iceless at Restaurant Story.
Kevin Jabou is telling me how he almost burnt his mum's house down. He’s the designer of ‘Kaelo, the iceless ice bucket’ and we are gathered at Restaurant Story near London Bridge for it’s launch.
He has brought along several of the table height rectangular pedestals in each of the four options of dark or light wood, or gloss black or white. He used military and medical tech to create heavier cold air convection currents which stay in the bottle holder keeping your booze at the perfect temperature.
We mingle and enjoy snacks of squid ink biscuits and Nasturtium flowers as our host for the event, ‘wine chap’ Tom Harrow introduces us to the Armand de Brignac Brut Rose Champagne. The excellent waiting staff remove the distinctive pink bottle poking out of the mirror-polished stainless steel ringed LED lit opening in each Kaelo’s top and serve.
This is the very palatable champagne Jay Z invested in and is nicknamed 'Ace of Spades' by Hip-hop’s elite. I can easily imagine Mr Z and his ‘baby mama’ Beyonce enjoying a Kaelo in their ‘crib’ or whilst chillin’ on their megayacht.
We take our seats at solid timber tables in the restaurant’s stone and wood clad interior. It’s a contemporary building designed by reForm architects with vertical slatted exterior cladding and a large glazed façade facing the small adjacent gardens.
It was built on the site of a former public convenience but people now sit for rather longer as they enjoy Chef Patron Tom Sellers ever-evolving tasting menu of seasonal dishes, the ‘Full Story’ of a ‘foreword’ and five ‘chapters’ taking up to four hours to peruse. Tom studied with Tom Aikens, Noma and Per Se before opening Restaurant Story aged only 26. It gained its Michelin star five months after opening and has retained it ever since.
Our first course is ‘Bread and Dripping’. Candles in wide based holders are discreetly deposited along with mini jars of beef extract and cucumber relish. Nostalgic for the dripping my Dad would spread on bread in the 70’s, I’m expecting more flavour than I get as we break warm bread and dip it into the candle fat. However, flavour does follow from the beef extract and the relish cuts through the fat beautifully.
I chat to a restaurant and beverage consultant at our table (who shall remain anonymous) and he points out how cheap to produce this theatrical starter is -and how it’s likely they filter and reform the melted fat to recycle it for the next service too. With the set menu dinner here costing £120 per head, he has a point.
Money has certainly been spent on the ratio of quality waiting staff though, who now produce glasses of lively and rich 2015 Holus Bolus Roussanne, and present the bottle label with it’s fantastic Octopus graphic.
Scallop, cucumber and ash follow, paired with a Rum Diary cocktail. Bisected into three thin discs, the scallop is delicious, as is the triple distilled fragrant cocktail. My restaurant insider tells the story of his friend who enjoyed the full four hour tasting menu here but after several beautiful but slight ‘chapters’ felt compelled to add the ‘epilogue’ of a kebab on the way home.
The main course of Lamb and Green Tomato has three succulent morsels of loin, fillet and shoulder cuts and a leaf that tastes incredibly like a fresh oyster. We wonder if it’s been genetically modified but the ‘Oyster leaf’ or ‘Sea Bluebell’ is real and amazing. Glasses of 2010 Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico appear to wash it down. Another guest at our table actually licks his plate to get all the last juices.
The dessert is an arrangement of distinct Almond and Dill flavours and we are encouraged to mix it into a chilled green slush which is not nearly as aesthetic as it was when served but delicious. This comes with a petite bottle of finely balanced 2016 Mount Horrocks ‘Cordon Cut’ Reisling, Australia's excellent answer to the German classic.
‘Wine chap’ Tom wraps up this very enjoyable event and I chat to inventor Kevin again as we leave. Luckily his mum’s house wasn’t torched as he perfected Kaelo’s ground-breaking electronic technology in her East London shed; “If MI6 had seen my development room, I’d’ve been taken in for questioning.” He says. Now he has an investor on board it’s clearly moved into a different realm with the venture aimed at the top end buyer at just under a grand a pop.
I can definitely see a niche market for dry cooling of your tipple instead of a dripping ice bucket, but I’m going to have to bust some phat-bangin’ rhymes to hustle serious ‘G’ as a Hip Hop playa to be able to afford one - Fo’ shizzle*.
* mic drop
Find out more about the Kaelo Wine Bucket at www.kaelo.co.uk/