Combine west Africa and eastern Europe - you get Mayfair’s newest addition
I don’t usually travel to the end of the Monopoly board, but for Mayfair’s latest restaurant, Stork of Cork Street, I make an exception. Why? One reason is it combines eastern Europe and western African influences, resulting in a fusion you won’t have experienced or tasted before. As I walk to my table I spot a fellow punter eating chicken schnitzel with a jollof rice side. Knowing the restaurants raison d’être, the other possible combinations start to race through my mind before I’ve even seen the menu!
My guest and I take our seats in the centre of the restaurant, the attentive waiter pouring our still water from a very fancy carafe. This is the first sign Stork will impress wherever and with whatever it can, not letting the big detail (expensive location, big item dishes, fantastical store front) take all of the limelight. Our surroundings are hyper modern but avoid the discomfort that usually brings, combining pine wood with plush colourful couches.
The wine menu is extensive but not PhD length, and we require only two minutes to peruse the tasting menu to pick a simple merlot, lobster and schnitzel (previewed earlier) to start. I’m reassured when our dishes arrive and are petite, leaving enough space for the main and dessert. I quickly (and selfishly) decide not to share the lobster with my guest, always a good sign. The lobster is accompanied with a bisque and ‘Moi Moi.’ A quick post-meal internet search tells me this is a nigerian steamed pudding made up of peppers, onions and black eyed peas. It wins this round. Despite my companion being equally impressed with his schnitzel I score the lobster higher for imagination and effort (it comes de-shelled, phew).
Next we go with halibut and lamb dishes. Reassuringly quick, my dish (lamb) arrives in a literal plume of smoke, an added detail not unappreciated when you’re paying upmarket prices for most of the menu. My lamb is mouth watering, its delectably crispy skin contributing to me losing track of the conversation I was having with my companion across the table. His halibut smells great, perfectly flaky and accompanied by ‘efo riro’, a kind of Nigerian soup containing locust bean and crayfish. But back to my lamb - I’m sceptical at first that it comes with aubergine (not a fan) but I’m won over by the glazing both have received that speaks to both the dorsums and papilla of my taste buds.
Our desert is seemingly easter themed, which I let pass. I have a white chocolate egg with a mango mousse inside, with a kind of candy floss moat and I’m so mesmerised that I forgot what my colleague chose. Stork is deserving of a visit after a shop on Regents Street. If I went back I might try the plantain, puff puff or chin chin (genuine menu items). I’d be lying to you if I said I’d eat anything other than the lamb that I’ve been having dreams about since. Mayfair’s newest resident won’t ever be accused of being unoriginal.
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