I've long lived by the belief that there's no such thing as too much butter. While I expect medical professionals would disagree, when it comes to the culinary arts, very few things aren't improved by liberal lashings of silky, salt-laden churned cream.
Having already perused its menu online, I had a spring in my step the whole way to Story Cellar, the second restaurant by chef and restauranteur Tom Sellers. While his first venue, the two Michelin-starred Restaurant Story, focuses on modern British fine dining, Sellers’ new, charcoal-hued, marble-clad venue just off Seven Dials is inspired by the rotisseries and brasseries of Paris. Here you’ll find classics like spit-roasted whole chicken, steak with Bernaise sauce, buttered greens, slabs of seasonal terrine and brown sugar bruleé. No prizes for guessing why I was so excited.
It's predominantly counter seating at Story Cellar and the prime spots are those in front of the open kitchen, where you'll feel the flush of the wood-fired grills and hear the sizzle of chicken skin crisping, as birds rotate on thick metal skewers.
The half rotisserie chicken was plump, succulent, and had me and my dinner date fighting over the last of its crinkled, caramel-coloured skin.
Don’t dive straight into the grilled options though, as one of Story Cellar’s most exciting and intriguing dishes is the snail bolognese. Spooned over two slices of spongy sourdough, the dark brown ragu smacked with earthy meatiness, similar in both taste and texture to more traditional Italian ragus made with chicken liver. Glugs of Restaurant Story red wine vinegar in the sauce resulted in a deep umami richness, while the neon-green wild garlic butter served on top waded in with some sweet, aromatic notes to round everything out.
And now to the grill: a lightly charred sirloin cut from grass-fed Lake District cattle was melt in the mouth, while the half rotisserie chicken was plump (there's plenty here for two), succulent, and had me and my dinner date fighting over the last of its crinkled, caramel-coloured skin.
A side of frites were exactly as they should be (golden, salty, addictive), glazed carrots were tender and subtly spoke of star anise, while the 60% butter mash, made with Suffolk potatoes and a sprinkling of white pepper, had me weak at the knees. This is true love, everyone.
With a dessert menu boasting bread-and-butter pudding, preserved rhubarb and pistachio trifle, almond and dill soft serve as well as the aforementioned brown sugar bruleé, it's worth undoing a trouser button to make room for some pud. The soft serve stole the show for me, with its silky texture; creamy, non-cloying almond flavour; and utterly moreish topping of crunchy salted nut flakes.
Don't be deceived, there's plenty here to delight those looking to dine lighter – fresh Carlingford oysters, Dorset crab linguine and even a bowl of house soup – but with classic French cooking forming the basis of the menu, my fellow butter fiends, this one's for us.
The vibe An upmarket Parisian-style rotisserie in Covent Garden.
The food Souped-up French classics with a side of fun.
The drink An impressive selection of global wine with a few choice cocktails. Order a signature Negroni to sip on as you ponder the menu.
Time Out tip Ask for a spot at the kitchen counter when booking, so the chefs can talk you through your dishes as they serve them.