Saturday, August 15, 2009

SCOTT'S

Dinner on our first evening in London had to be somewhere special and it was going to be difficult to decide where to go with so many restaurants to choose from. This decision was fortuitously taken out of my hands when Mrs. B kindly booked us a table at one of London's best seafood restaurants - Scott's.

Scott's is a century-old London institution that opened in 1851 and was famous in the forties and fifties. It moved to it's current Mayfair location in 1968 and was a mainstay in London's swinging sixties until it closed in 2004. It's oak-paneled walls were retained but the rest of the interiors have been given a dramatic renovation. After a successful reopening in 2006, it is once again one of London's most glamorous restaurants. Now owned by Richard Caring, Scott's continues to be an establishment restaurant along with The Ivy, Le Caprice, J Sheekey, Daphne's, BamBou and Rivington Grill, all part of Caprice Holdings.

We walked the few blocks to the restaurant on Mount Street and arrived a bit past eight-thirty. Since our table wasn't quite ready, we were led to the massive onyx and sting-ray bar where an immense sculpture-like tub of crushed ice and seafood made for an impressive centerpiece. We ordered some Prosecco but before we even took a sip, we were whisked off to our linen-covered table just behind the bar right smack in the middle of the action where we had a very good view of the well-dressed movers and shakers dining at Scott's that evening. Service was quick and attentive and menus were presented as soon as we sat.

After a quick look at the menu, we made our choices and were soon served some crusty bread along with some beurre demi-sel (slightly salted butter) which we had while we sipped our Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut Credde 2007 .

We watched the waiters rush around while the restaurant continued to fill up with a well-dressed crowd. It was fun being in a restaurant with a proper people-watching scene and enough to keep us entertained while we waited for our starters which arrived soon enough - a dozen Sp├ęciales de Claire (oysters) for myself and a Girolle (chanterelle mushrooms) and broad bean risotto with Gorgonzola for T. The oysters were sweet and salty and ice-cold, perfect with just a bit of mignonnette (wine, vinegar, shallots and pepper) and some brown bread with butter. T's risotto was rich with the blue cheese, earthy because of the mushrooms and given a twist by the addition of the broad beans - delicious. I took my time savoring every oyster and making sure to get every last drop of oyster liquor left in the shell.

After a brief interlude, we our main courses were served: Cornish sea bass with lemon and herb butter for me and the Cornish hake for T. Along with these, we had two side dishes - creamed spinach and chips. My sea bass was split open, crisp on the outside an flavored with parsley lemon butter. It was very good. T's hake was pan-seared and came with some squid and what was called "Castilian potatoes" - which were potato chunks sauteed in paprika. The fish was fleshy and the spiced potatoes and seared squid were a delicious accompaniment to the fish.

We also had a carafe of 2007 Chardonnay from New Zealand's Dog Point Vineyard - its' citrus and oak flavor marrying well with the fish. We shared a lemon and raspberry sorbet to end the meal. We were so full that we didn't even have space for a coffee. We asked for the bill and received a surprise (a very pleasant one) when we were told there wasn't one, as our tab had been already been taken care of by the Mrs. B. Thank you Mrs. B for a wonderful first meal in London!!!
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Scott's
20 Mount Street
London W1 (Mayfair)
Tel: +44 020 7495 7309
Open daily for lunch and dinner from 12 noon
Valet parking

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