Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Scott's, Mayfair

Mayfair - playground of the rich and famous. Or more accurately last night, just the rich, as the celebrity-spotting opportunities were unfortunately nil despite very frequent and obvious glances around the room to see if anyone worth noticing had wandered in. Sarah Ferguson and her kids were here a couple of days ago apparently, so maybe I was just unlucky, but I'd have liked to have taken away with me an anecdote or two about bumping into Kevin Spacey or picking up Kylie Minogue's napkin, as well as the memory of a very very good dinner. I didn't even get to take any photos, so for the first time in its short history this blog is text-only. This is a real shame as seafood is the most photogenic of all foodstuffs, but as I whipped my trusty cameraphone out our waiter couldn't have looked more shocked if I'd unholstered a pistol.

"Sorry you can't take photos in here," he said. And that was that. I suppose I could have sneaked in a couple when his back was turned but as I was with company and not paying for the meal I didn't want to risk any more embarassment. So you'll have to take my word for it that the menu was exhaustive and mouthwatering, the food perfectly presented and the decor sufficiently sumptuous.

We had decided upon sharing a "Seafood platter for two, £28". The waitress decided that this would be too much and instead suggested a seafood platter for one, to share. Which begs the question - if the seafood platter for two is too big for two, why not just make it smaller, and similarly if the seafood platter for one is too big for one, why not call it the seafood platter for two? On the itemised bill this eventually appered as "Seafood platter for 1, £28". Something fishy going on there, in more ways than one. But quibbles about the pricing aside, this was a spectacular huge tray of oysters, whelks, clams, cockles, langoustine and prawns, with a huge half a crab in the middle. All of it was at the very least well cooked; the crab meat was creamy and delicious, the whelks meaty and fresh, the langoustine plump and juicy. Only slight disappointment were the prawns which weren't anything out of the ordinary but never mind. Oh and I can't vouch for the oysters either as after a couple of near-death experiences I've decided I'm allergic to them and won't risk it again. But they didn't go to waste so I'm guessing they were good as well.

My main was a Dover Sole Meuniere, and was heart-stoppingly superb. Maybe Dover Sole is always as good, I can't remember the last time I had it, but this was rich and meaty, packed with flavour and presented with unapologetic simplicity - just the fish itself, on the bone, on a plate. Lifting the lovely solid flesh off the bone was an absolute joy, and I felt a tremendous sense of loss once I was finally just left with the cartoon cliche head and tail. Not cheap of course - this was about £28 from memory - but worth every penny I (ahem) didn't pay for it.

So after a final furtive glance around the room to check I hadn't missed the arrival of a royal entourage or hip hop star, we stepped back out into the cold London night and it was all over. I can't pretend I'm not lucky to have been treated to such an extravagant meal, and I fully admit this may have clouded my judgement somewhat. But I do know that the food at Scott's was cooked expertly, the setting was as glamorous as you'd expect in this part of town, and I'm pretty sure I'd have very little to complain about if I went again under my own steam. Which I fully intend to do.


Scott's on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Sounds lovely but I would have taken points away for that very cheeky seafood platter price switch-up. Restaurants and bars get away with murder in my opinion, we have to start questioning things more.

Anonymous said...

All sounds lovely - as indeed it is - but knowing the Scott's pricing as I do I supect, if you look at the menu, you'll find that the £28 tag, was the price per person. So if you'd had it for two it would have cost, gulp, £56.

Jay Rayner

Chris Pople said...

Well all I can say is that the way it was phrased on the menu was incredibly misleading - I don't remember seeing anything like "per person" mentioned. Still, as it turned out the platter for one was plenty big enough, so can't really complain.

Anonymous said...

I used to work in a bar where the managment were constantly putting one over the customer. A favourite was always to add an extra 50 or so drinks to the open bar tabs at christmas office parties which we would then enjoy after work and make up the lost stock with. I think this early glimpse of dishonesty has left me as a paranoid customer!