Rows of brightly coloured intriguing vegetable and fruit pickles, oils, extracts and syrups line the contemporary apothecary style shelves that greet diners as they enter the boisterous restaurant with its open (and sometimes boisterously animated) kitchen. I recommend sitting at the counter for the full experience. Scully and his team delight in explaining the menu, its ingredients, techniques and inspirations, in as much detail as you wish. My guest who works with Ducasse at the Dorchester relished in a revealing conversation about cooking with aquafaba (the chickpea water vegan alternative to egg white), besides picking up some pickling tips.
We shared a plate of boldly different tomatoes and coconut salad with green strawberries (evoking memories of an early visit to Noma) and pourover tomato shrub, as well as an arepa (fluffy Columbian pancake likely to be the next street food sensation) with aubergine and bergamot labneh (strained yoghurt), and a dish of vegeable achar (pickle),
Scully's really is, as Ottolenghi has said, 'an exciting and unexpected place to be.' The staff proudly explain that the sharing menu reflects the wide-ranging culinary traditions of Scully's own family heritage, plus his insatiable appetite for travel and new ingredients. His mother is of Chinese and Indian descent, his father is Irish Balinese, and Scully himself was brought up in Sydney. With such a cultural mix, there's a huge explosion of vibrant flavours, colours and textures. It is the kind of meal that demands plenty of attention, and is especially Instagram-worthy, scoring high on recherche ingredients. With pretty loud 70s and 80s jazz funk playing, it is probably not the place for an intimate heart-to-heart, unless it is all about the food.
We also especially enjoyed the nettle tabbouleh served with pork belly, which deftly showed off the restaurant’s commitment to foraging and brilliantly timed cooking to maximise flavour.
Be sure to pace yourself and try the impressively intense chocolate sorbet made with Original Beans’ Piura Porcelena chocolate with pistachio: a great end to a highly creative lunch.
This is one of London's most inventive new restaurants in a great central dining destination, and Ramuel Scully deserves fulsome recognition alongside his brilliant mentor Yotam Ottolenghi.
|What||Scully restaurant, St. James’s Market|
|Where||Scully, St James's, 4 St James’s Market, St James’s, SW1Y 4QA | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Piccadilly Circus (underground)|
02 Apr 18 – 31 May 19, Mon-Sat 12-3 & 5.30-10.30 Sun 12-4