This seeming desire on their part to pick your pocket one last time is laughable. A gin and tonic costs £10 each so the three ordered around the table, together with service charge had already netted them £33.75 which you would have thought gave them enough margin to cover the cost of bread.
Before our good humour had entirely seeped away, we read the menu but didn't do a lot of maths; later as we looked at the bill, it's easy to discover more to make you wish you you hadn't gone. We started with the 12 Mixed Oysters and spicy sausage. The four types of oyster they show on the menu (and their current prices per the web page) are Fine de Claires (£26.50), Strangford Loughs (£21.50), West Mersea No2 (£39.50) and Dorset Rocks (£25.50). Since the mixed plate contains three of each, the average price for a dozen mixed oysters would be £28.25. On the web page they show the price of the Mixed Oysters with Sausages at £39.50 so even here they're implying that the Spicy Sausage accompaniment is being charged at £11.25 (£12.94 after service) for what is effectively a small plate of cocktail sausages. What's more, prices have possibly gone up without their web page being updated for we were actually charged £42.50 before service for the mixed oysters.
The oysters were good for sure and this is Mayfair so we expect a substantial mark up. But with for example the retail price on the most expensive of these, West Mersea No2 oysters being a little over £1, their margin is plenty wide enough that the cover charge again looks totally out of place. Their margins are plenty wide enough everywhere it seems.
The food itself was totally unexceptional. A starter of spiced crab wasn't spicy at all despite the request at the time of ordering that it be made extra spicy. It also didn't come as described by the waitress who said it was served in shell whereas it came in a metal pan. At Scott's, we got the strong feeling that front of house and the kitchen don't really communicate.
An Octopus carpaccio with spring onion, chilli and coriander tasted only (and very heavily) of spring onion. Cod cheeks and bacon as the the other starter was perhaps the best dish of the day. On the mains, the fillet of halibut was thoroughly dried out and unpleasant to chew, grilled lobster seemed over cooked on the outside with a crusted surface but not properly cooked through and a ray wing was okay but we've cooked better and more interesting at home. The chips were flaccid with no crunch.
While we were also told that it is company policy not to ask diners how the food is as waiting staff don't want to disturb your meal, there was no query that half a £42 lobster was left on the plate and returned to the kitchen at the end of the mains. They didn't really seem to care about this though they did care about another company policy which is no photos because 'this is a high profile restaurant'. However, they were paying insufficient attention to our table that this instruction only came during the main course after all the pictures had been taken. However, out of respect for the restaurant, even before they issued the edict, we didn't use our normal camera, instead, something much more discrete. The result though is that the pictures are truly awful but we put them below anyway.
It is only our opinion of course but we think Scott's care about being a high profile restaurant, making lots of money and being frequented by the Mayfair hedge fund managers and the odd passing famous person (we saw none in there that night though). We don't think they care about the food generally, or the service to the 'ordinary' tables that eat there. This is a real shame, especially for those who might save up for a special occasion meal there.
Scott's belongs to the same group that own and operate Le Caprice which we love. The difference between the two couldn't be more marked. We noted that at Caprice, the 'famous crowd' had moved on, and that the restaurant had brilliantly reorientated itself to good food and good service to everyone who steps through the door. It is our view that Scott's meanwhile remains not a place to eat but a place to be seen. We however are unlikely to be seen there again, a fact which they will most likely have no problem with at all, not least because we made them take the cover charge off the bill, something that the Berkeley Square hedge fund managers never do lest it appears like they're having a bad quarter and falling on hard times. That would never do.
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