Sustainable. Organic. Locally sourced. Seasonal. All these terms are thrown around a lot these days – even Pret will use them for their own marketing purposes.
But it has diluted a lot of what it all means. To be a restaurant whose ethos is firmly rooted in sustainability takes a lot of work. You’ve got to work closely with food producers from all over and have a deep understanding of local seasonal opportunities.
Thankfully, there are some true sustainability warriors out there, showing exactly how it should be done – not only to better protect the food industry, workers and the environment but to make even better tasting food and drink.
Stoney Street does this by working with some of the best food producers around the UK. They use Pump Street chocolate, butter and cheese from Fen Farm Dairy, heritage grains from Gilchesters and Wakelyns and even more cheese from Neal’s Yard Dairy. This careful sourcing paired with some damn good chefs makes for a wining combo.
The menu is simple – there are about seven snacks and starters, three mains and a handful of desserts. Drinks are equally sparse with a few stunning bottles of red and white and some cocktails. We are big fans of both the super fresh and citrus-filled bergamot sour and the punchy hibiscus margarita.
The food is simple too. At least on the surface. Just a few standout ingredients are used to make something special.
The mussels in fish broth is so surprisingly warming and layered. The addition of chrysanthemum leaves, crispy baby kale and confit garlic makes it into a more complex but unchallenging dish.
The warm salad is also a huge win.Made with peacock kale, shaved Brussels sprouts, fennel, pear, buttermilk, walnuts, orange and malt crumbs alongside a big heaping of raclette. This cheesy salad is a great blend of both savoury and sweet. It’s crunchy and chewy. Healthy but also gluttonous. And it’s all balanced to perfection. Flavours compliment one another rather than compete.
And that only ramps up as you move into mains. The pheasant dish was somehow incredibly Christmassy – tasting like mulled wine in meat and veg form.
The lemon sole was also dreamy. The fish came covered in toasted coriander seeds, a parsley and garlic sauce, wilted chard and a smattering of mussels for good measure. With dishes like this, the quality of ingredients makes all the difference. Each element tastes so much better than your usual grocery store stuff. Getting locally sourced, organic and seasonal produce does nothing but boost the flavour profiles.
It’s worth noting that portions are decent too. You won’t be going hungry at Stoney Street.
And, with the chefs being patisserie pros, dessert is far from a mere after thought like it is in so many restaurants these days. They’ve got a selection of homemade cakes but we fell in love with the chocolate mousse. This was to be expected though – we are big fans of the Pump Street chocolate they use.
Yes, it is crazy expensive chocolate, but you’ll notice the difference immediately. The depth of flavour and richness you get from the mousse is like no other mousse you’ve had. They’ve gone ahead and paired it with a cocoa nib brittle and frozen pistachio white chocolate. Oof. If we had to choose what our last feast was – we’d end it with this dessert. The team at Stoney Street by 26 Grains shows just how good British cuisine can be.
They manage to create bold flavours with simple, high quality ingredients all the while being sustainable. This is the future of food.