Visit: 5 February 2023, lunch for two
Scott’s Oyster Rooms was opened in Haymarket’s Coventry Street in 1851, by a young fishmonger, John Scott. The restaurant was relocated to its current site at 20 Mount Street in 1968. In 2005, Richard Caring acquired Caprice Holdings (owners of The Ivy and J Sheekey), and later that year purchased Scott’s Mayfair which was refurbished substantially. The restaurant reopened in November 2006. The head chef since 2009 has been Dave McCarthy, who previously worked for nine years at J Sheekey.
Outside the restaurant, there are a number of tables that were all occupied with customers, even on this cold February afternoon, kept warm by outside heaters. The door was opened by a doorman wearing a bowler hat, and we entered the reception area. The restaurant in front of us had a central marble bar with customers seated on stools, and a curving stone altar for the display of lobsters and other seafood on ice. There is another restaurant area off to the left to which we were escorted, and we were seated next to a well-known celebrity. The restaurant is surprisingly large, and can seat about 140 customers, serving maybe 460 to 500 covers on a busy day. This Sunday lunch, the restaurant was packed, outside, inside and at the bar. The tables next to us were turned during the time we were there, so this is definitely a very popular destination.
The menu is a la carte, with a focus on fish and sea food dishes, and a few meat courses if you prefer. There is also a vegetarian menu option.
Good crusty French bread was served, both white and brown, with butter. We started with dressed crab (£23), and the Dublin Bay prawns (£42 for 6 prawns) that were served with an excellent mayonnaise. I ordered the prawns to be served out of their shells, to save me the inconvenience. They were excellent.
We chose the fish of the day for two people (£96), which was turbot, cooked on the bone, either grilled or roasted, then filleted at (or near to) the table. We chose to have the turbot grilled. The fish was accompanied by buttered new potatoes, a selection of greens and mayonnaise. The fish was precisely cooked with very good flavour.
For dessert we chose the Bramley and Cox’s apple pie (£12.50), with custard, which was also very good.
Service throughout the meal was excellent. Scott’s opens at noon, seven days a week, and is open all day until 1230am (1200 on a Sunday).
I am very impressed with Scott’s. When we entered the restaurant there was a palpable buzz of excitement of customers enjoying themselves. The food and service were excellent. This is definitely a restaurant I am looking forward to revisiting.
Cork-born Dave McCarthy has worked at some of London’s most famous restaurants, including The Fifth Floor at Harvey Nichols with Henry Harris, Caprice Holdings, The Ivy and J Sheekey. He has been head chef at Scott’s since 2009.
The terrace outside the front of the restaurant:
The front door and doorman with bowler hat: