Stork in Mayfair: Modern British cooking inspired by cross-continental migration
Recently opening its doors in the heart of Mayfair, Stork is a new modern British restaurant inspired by the eponymous bird’s migration pattern between Africa to Europe. The restaurant’s founders are Michael Adjovi Kalu and Nadina Grigoras, of Nigeria and Moldova respectively, who want to bring the essence of their homes and the countries on the stork’s seasonal path to the London dinner table. At the helm of the kitchen and working to bring their culinary vision to life is chef Adebola Adeshina, who spent many years training under Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsay.
Set over two tiers, Stork lives up to its name, with bird memorabilia decorating every corner of the restaurant. Sitting high above the tables and lining the walls are origami-style stork light fixtures which, alongside walls of greenery and embellished stork eggs which are feathered, glittered and beaded, give the space a playful feel. Animal objects and urns on display also pay homage to the African origins of the concept. The overall vibe of the restaurant is elegant and comfortable, with a little bit of a kitsch element, which is fun and fits well in the venue.
As we settle into our spot, our waiter brings over two signature cocktails, the Stork Brought You, and the Honey Creeper. Decanted into bird glassware, the first is made with coconut milk which sings with fresh lychee and mango flavours and very subtle notes of white chocolate. The latter is fresher, with more citrus flavour and a grape-like quality.
On the food front, we start with the Scottish Lobster, Steamed Moi Moi and Lobster Bisque. Beautifully presented, the lobster portion is generous, sitting plump atop a square of the moi moi and peas, which complement the sweetness of the meat. However, the appearance of the lobster is deceiving, with the reality being a somewhat rubbery and overcooked piece of seafood which can’t help but disappoint.
We also try the Chicken Schnitzel, served with Duke of York potatoes and Berkswell cheese. Between the crispy chicken and the potatoes, the dish is a little on the dry side, needing something fresh to help it along.
Where the restaurant stumbles in its starters, it redeems itself in its mains. The Wild Bass, Egusi, Burnt Leeks and Jersey Royals is a well-balanced dish, with the protein tender and falling apart. Shredded Suya Lamb Shoulder, Grilled Cutlet, Smoked Aubergine also successfully makes a hero of the lamb, which is blush pink and very tender, brought to life by the smokiness of the aubergine and brightened by fresh pea puree.
To finish, we opt for the Ile Flottante, playfully presented in a porcelain stork egg, which hides within a beautiful crème anglaise, rippled with a berry coulis and topped with light and chewy meringues. This dessert is perhaps the highlight of the evening; served warm, it’s not too sweet and is complemented by some sugar work which adds crunch to the dish.
The White Stork is a visual show-stopper: a tempered white chocolate egg laying above a nest of candy floss. When cracked open, it reveals a white chocolate mousse and mango parfait made to look like an egg which is playful and creative. The dish is too sweet overall, the white chocolate and almond crumble overpowering the more delicate fruit flavour of the parfait and bringing to mind the idea of style over substance.
Still within its soft opening phase, Stork has proved itself to have great potential for putting West African and Eastern European food on the London food map, with well-executed dishes accompanied by products that are not typically found in the capital. The offer is fresh, seasonal produce, delivered in a way that is typically British, while also being miles away in terms of flavours and ingredients.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Matthew Pull
To book a table at Stork, 13-14 Cork Street Mayfair London W1S 3NS, call 020 3973 9307 or visit their website here.