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The BMW Square Meal Restaurant of the Year rewards all-round excellence and honours the restaurant deemed to be delivering the best customer experience through its combination of top-drawer food, seriously considered wine, impressive service and cracking ambience. BMW has sponsored the award for almost a decade, recognising that its own brand shares many of the values of a successful restaurant, namely an innate sense of style, innovation, reliability and value.
When it comes to assessing the merits of specific restaurants, we consider and reflect the opinions of our team of reviewers but, just as importantly, we also take into account the experiences of our readers. We received a staggering 9,500 reader comments during 2008, providing us with a clear picture of which restaurants are currently excelling (and which are not).
There were several high-performance contenders for the award. Marcus Wareing, reaching for more Michelin stars at The Berkeley, quickly put himself in contention, as did Hibiscus – a restaurant that seems to be getting better all the time. Arbutus and Zafferano are both unrivalled when it comes to providing the full-on dining experience with a keen eye on prices, while Zuma is unchallenged for ultra-chic glamour and sexy, fashion-led thrills.
All of the shortlisted restaurants have real star quality, but one establishment was emphatically in a league of its own: Scott’s. This legendary fish restaurant first opened in 1851, but was spectacularly re-born at the end of 2006 following its takeover by Caprice Holdings. Almost immediately it became the darling of London’s glitterati, who were lured by its irresistible combination of glossy surroundings, suave service and a perfectly executed menu peppered with the kind of dishes that people want to eat every day.
As a result of its extraordinary popularity, Scott’s has become one of the most atmospheric dining rooms in the capital, and it’s a mightily impressive package that ticks all the boxes. A quick glance at the deluge of support we have received tells its own story – ‘ the most glamorous place in London’, ‘a world-class restaurant’ and ‘utterly flawless’ are typically effusive plaudits from readers. And that’s what has made the award so important to everyone involved in the running of the restaurant: ‘It’s very rewarding for Scott’s and Caprice Holdings to be recognised in this way, not least because it reflects genuine customer feedback,’ said Des McDonald, CEO of Caprice Holdings, on receiving the award (pictured, far left, with chef director Tim Hughes) .
Scott’s is a gem on London’s restaurant scene, embodying everything that a top-class establishment should be. Our heartiest congratulations go to the entire team.