Clifford Mould revisits a youthful
Scott's Restaurant, Oyster Terrace and Bar
is one of London's oldest restaurants.
When I was a student it was in Piccadilly
and half a dozen oysters cost 10/6d,
(that's half a guinea!) I remember
being put off eating oysters in those
days because of a friend who had
once been taken there after having
had rather a lot of Champagne which
reacted with the oysters in an alarmingly
rapid fashion. Apparently the waiters
all moved in like the Imperial Guard
and the other diners were completely
unaware of his predicament. Now that's service
On this occasion, I arrived having
already had oysters and Champagne
at a cocktail party earlier in the
evening, so once more I resisted
the oysters at Scott's. Nowadays
half dozen rocks from Loch Fyne will
cost you (£8.50).
The restaurant has been relocated
in Mayfair for thirty years and it
was given a complete makeover a couple
of years ago. There is a huge plate
glass window overlooking Mount Street
revealing several levels and a translucent
spiral staircase wrapped around an
impressive cylindrical glass tank
with an hypnotic flow of ever rising
bubbles. My guest remarked that it
was like watching an eternal gin
Had I not previously dallied with
seafood, I would probably have gone
for the famous Scott's shellfish
platter (£19.0) - even better
value at £31.00 for two people.
Starters include seared scallops
with celeriac and garlic for £9.50,
or mussels steamed in white wine
with cream and herbs, (£6.75).
Not all the dishes are fishy ones;
for instance you could have goat's
cheese baked in a light pastry or
artichoke stuffed with mushrooms
topped with a poached egg, both at £7.00.
We decided on soup. I chose a Morecombe
Bay shrimp bisque (£6.25) which
was thick and intensely flavoured
both with shellfish and spices -
very comforting after my earlier
canapés. My guest was intrigued
by the soup of the day which was
a minted green pea concoction and
decided he would try it. His reaction
was quite rapturous, so I had to
have several spoonfuls myself. It
was really lovely, quite delicate
but with a smooth velouté texture
and a complex mixture of herb and
mint flavours. We were impressed.
I continued with pan fried Turbot
(£22.50) which was absolutely
first rate - very juicy, flakey and
tasting of the ocean; it came with
a spicy aubergine timbale which was
excellent in itself, but I personally
found it a little too heavy an accompaniment
for the fish. A whole roasted John
Dory (£18.50) was quite crisp
and strongly flavoured; the flesh
fell off the bone rather readily.
Side vegetables were well cooked,
especially some bubble and squeak,
a very traditional and excellent
English way of using up previously
cooked potatoes and cabbage.
We tried various wines by the glass
from a good list. A blend of Chardonnay
and Viognier from "Tortoise Creek" in
the Pays d'Oc sounded suspiciously
like Aussies at work, and the wine
was certainly upfront and fruity
(£4.40 a glass). Lawson's Dry
Hills Riesling is certainly from
Australia, and is outstanding, as
it should be at £6.00 a glass.
Particularly recommended is the claret,
a 1995 Lalande de Pomerol, with overtones
of plums and figs (£6.90 a glass).
Drinking by the glass is rather an
expensive way of sampling some very
enjoyable wines which are better
value by the bottle.
There is a good selection of puddings
including some traditional English
favourites which are also a good
test of the kitchen. Lemon meringue
pie can often be very disappointing
in restaurants with a horrid confected
finish that's not the real thing
at all. When he saw the Scott's version
with its elaborated piped meringue
my guest went a bit pale but this
was soon dispelled when he tasted
the intense citrus filling on its
crisp pastry base. The bread and
butter pudding was well made using
using crème pâtissière
instead of ordinary custard. I would
have enjoyed it even more had it
not been served cold - I like it
hot with the bread really toasty.
I'd recommend Scott's, particularly
for those who like something rather
traditionally English in style, but
without that irritating clubland
hauteur one sometimes finds in the
more old fashioned establishments
of that ilk.
Scott's Restaurant, Oyster Terrace
and Bar , 20 Mount Street, Mayfair
Reservations: 020 7629 5248
Since our review, Linda
Many thanks for your comprehensive
review on Scott's Restaurant of Mayfair.
I decided to take the plunge and
invited 5 guests to join me there
on Monday evening: We all had a very
enjoyable dinner. Your review was
extremely accurate and thorough.
I would add that it was a pleasant
surprise to find extremely simple
(cheaper) dishes on the menu together
with excellent, first
class (more expensive) fish courses.
In sum, a superb evening was had
by all as a direct result of your
I look forward to trying a few more
restaurants as recommended by you!