In east London’s Hackney Wick, beside the craft breweries, graffiti-clad warehouses and canal boats, chef Mr Tom Brown is cooking some of the capital’s finest seafood. The concise menu at his debut restaurant, Cornerstone, is made up of simple dishes – pickled oysters with horseradish, celery and dill; baked scallops with coral butter and lime; or cured gurnard with grapes, almond and sherry vinegar – which demonstrate a respect for impeccable-quality, carefully sourced fish and shellfish, prepared without fuss.
“When we first opened, we did have meat on the menu,” says Mr Brown. A visit from Mr Claude Bosi, the renowned head chef at London’s Michelin-starred Bibendum, early on, led him to focus solely on fish. “He asked why we included meat, since all the best dishes were fish-focused” he continues. “I couldn’t argue with him.” It’s an approach that’s winning Cornerstone great acclaim: since it opened last year, the restaurant has been lauded by critics, and received the Observer Food Monthly’s Best Newcomer restaurant award.
Mr Brown learned from the best, having worked for renowned Cornish seafood chef Mr Nathan Outlaw for six years. “Nathan has been a huge inspiration to me,” he says. “Lots of the dishes we serve at Cornerstone can be traced back to him somehow. He’s a master of fish cookery.”