Small plates and inclusivity order of the day for new Abbeydale Road restaurant
It’s about bringing out the best in humble ingredients
Abbeydale Road is booming. The Teller, the newest edition to the area, is launching in the site of the Vault – a former antiques store – this autumn.
Enhancing humble ingredients and inclusivity is at the forefront of what The Teller stands for. Three men are behind this vision, Andy Mastin, Al Stevens and chef-patron Sam Armitage, who we caught up with for a chat.
“Well basically, Andy and Al wanted to open a restaurant,” Sam tell us. “Andy got in touch with me and was wondering if I knew anyone wanting to take it on, and I was like, yes I’d love to do it! He told me that was what he hoped I’d say.”
Andy is the former owner of the Vintedge bar across the road, and The Teller’s own bar is set to offer a great round of crowd-pleasers along with craft brews. In terms of homemade, Sam adds. “My uncle brews his own cider, he’s planted an orchard, so we’re going to be selling his sparking apple wine on the bar as well.” You couldn’t get more craft than that!
The menu sounds amazing, too. It’s based around small plates which heighten ingredients often overlooked, like pigs-trotters (above), a dish which will be one of Sam’s signatures. “It’s stuffed with chicken and Chinese mushroom. Then it’s seasoned with Szechuan preserves and then we braise it for about 12 hours, then coat it in dehydrated pigskin and crisp it back up.” Adding new edges to classics is also on the menu, such as scampi. “It’s homemade, so one week it might be monkfish, the next it might be pollock. We’re doing that with a warm hollandaise tartar sauce, so it’s a bit of a twist on things.”
There’s also a personal aspect of the menu for Sam and he is including signatures which tie back into his own experiences, as well as his bustling career. “My signature vegan dish is a cauliflower curry. It’s a cauliflower steak roasted, with a vegan masala sauce, rice from the cauliflower trim, then we crisp out the leaves. My granddad was from West Bengal and he was a chef, it’s his masala recipe! The colours on the plate are the colours of the Indian flag.” Adding personal flourishes to food is sure to give the Teller an edge whilst including the people who try it. “It’s little things which have stories, I’m trying to express myself through my food and hopefully people will like it!”
The prices are good too, at £5-£8 per plate The Teller is set to be the location for mates to share great food for great value. Being inclusive whilst delivering quality, bespoke food and drink is what The Teller stands for. Sam expands on this philosophy. “Being exclusive is not what we want to be, we want everyone to come in and enjoy it. We want everyone to experience it and not be inaccessible. It’s about bringing out the best in humble ingredients; it’s not really expensive but done with care and attention.
“What we want to deliver is high-end food, executed well. A small snack with a few drinks; really nice drinks in fact. Otherwise you can come in and make a meal of it, but we want it in a relaxed, accessible setting where everyone will feel comfortable, we’re not too uptight.
“I believe in it, I believe the food will be delivering that experience, I’m sure the front of house, and bar will be too.”
The Teller is set to open in sometime in November, before then check out their Facebook and Instagram @Teller.Resturant where you can see Sam constructing his signatures and progress on the refurb.