The latest addition to St James’s Market comes from ex-Nopi head chef Ramael Scully. Cosy interiors include copper pendant lighting, potted plants and a treasure trove of a glass-fronted pantry, stocked with herbs and spices from around the globe (the staff will let you smell a few). A large sharing table and an open kitchen add a communal vibe, but the marble-topped chef’s counter is undoubtedly home to the best seats in the house, where you can watch Scully and his team slice vegetables with expert precision and artfully plate up dishes on pretty ceramics, without ever breaking a sweat.
This captivating kitchen theatre is backed up by a truly intriguing menu, inspired by Scully’s heritage, which includes roots in Australia, Malaysia, India and Ireland. Nearly all the seasonally changing sharing plates impress, from a veggie-friendly tomato and coconut salad with green strawberries (summer in a bowl), to barbecued beef tendons, hidden by a dollop of smoky oyster mayo and served with salty fried tendon puffs for dipping. Elsewhere, there’s lusciously fatty pork belly with house-made XO sauce concealing a subtle flash of heat, and an outstanding plate of monkfish rubbed with sambal belacan, a tongue-tingling shrimp paste. Desserts toy with the balance of flavours, with mixed results: witness the love-it-or-hate-it dish of parsnip and coconut ice cream, which was more sharp than sweet, followed by the more impressive bitter grapefruit sorbet which arrived paired with a scoop of indulgent caramel ice cream – a delightful mix of sweet and sour.
Fastidious sourcing, impressively well-informed staff and an unflappable kitchen team swapping jokes while turning out plates of pure wonder all help to make dining at Scully a thrilling and eye-opening experience – we can’t wait to go back.