“Innovative food and full throttle flavours” – that’s how one reader describes the electric dining experience at Scully, even if at first glance it looks like another off-the-peg contemporary West End restaurant. The dining room is an on-trend mix of neutral colour tones and copper finishes, staff are smartly turned out in black shirts and there’s a bustling open kitchen of well-groomed chefs who turn out dishes with assembly-line precision.
It soon becomes clear, however, that there’s nothing run-of-the-mill about Scully. The restaurant is the first solo venture from ex-Nopi head chef Ramael Scully, who uses his polyglot heritage to create a menu that’s unlike anything else being served in London.
Scully’s menu consists of sharing plates (we’d recommend around five or six between two) and the marble-topped chef’s counter is undoubtedly home to the best seats in the house. Not only can you see the dishes being made, but you also get a run-down from the chefs themselves about everything that’s on the plate. While waiters and chefs explaining dishes can sometimes come off as patronising, the unusual ingredients here make it a vital part of the dining experience.
The stand-out dish for us was undoubtedly the arepa, a puffy Venezuelan cornmeal pancake. It is served whole alongside a bowl of aubergine sambal, and you’re encouraged to split it in half before adding the filling. The result is an intensely addictive riot of textures, combining the light heat of the sambal with the doughy shell of the arepa, tempered by a peppering of lime zest on its surface.
Elsewhere, salty fried tendon puffs are provided to dip into a mess of tomato sauce and oyster mayonnaise which bursts with umami flavour, while lusciously fatty pork belly is crowned with sticky crackling and served alongside a medley of greens that works to contain the richness.
Novel desserts such as a chocolate arepa stuffed with a blackcurrant-studded chocolate mousse also impress, while botanical cocktails and low-intervention wines match the creativity of the food. Plenty of London restaurants harp on about being an ‘experience’, but with its fastidious sourcing, unique dishes and knowledgeable staff, Scully feels both unforgettable and essential.