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What Now, Tom Brown? The Rising Star behind Cornerstone

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Kathryn Conway takes a trip east to experience the clean, fresh cooking of chef Tom Brown

When a chef of Claude Bosi’s calibre posts on social media that he “would go back every week” for lunch at your restaurant if he could, you know you are doing something right. From the day Tom Brown opened his debut restaurant, Cornerstone, in Hackney Wick, the Nathan Outlaw protégé has been showered with praise for his unpretentious cooking, and reservations here have become among the most sought-after in the city.

All pictures courtesy of Cedar Film.

Dining
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An intensely personal expression of everything its chef-patron holds dear, Cornerstone is a restaurant driven by passion. Favouring smaller, independent growers and producers, Brown has rooted out partners who put storytelling centre stage. Take Natural Born Wine, one of the biodynamic and natural wine suppliers Brown has called upon to partner his beautifully crafted dishes. Oli Hudson and Sam Rogg scour the globe and then tell the tale of the origins of the wines they discover via a story written by the pair that accompanies each bottle.

This personal touch extends to other areas of Cornerstone, from the clock stationed in the corner of the dining space that used to sit in the hallway in the house of Brown’s grandmother (the restaurant was partially funded from the sale of her house), to the bespoke gin created especially for the restaurant by The Wrecking Coast, a distillery in Brown’s native Cornwall.

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As for the food, simplicity is king and the balance and flavour of each dish is second to none. Potted shrimp arrives on a freshly made crumpet rich with melted butter and topped with kohlrabi, gherkin and parsley – it’s perfect in every single way. Also proving a happy marriage of texture and flavour is the cured red gurnard with grape, almond and an Oloroso sherry wine vinegar dressing – a dish its chef calls “a bit of a belter”.

Prepare to be blown away.

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