As this place is pretty easy to find being only 2 minutes walk from Leicester Square tube station, the customary arguing over directions/maps didn’t take long. Stephen was so visibly disappointed that I had been able to get us there so easily he suggested a walk around to “kill some time” but I had spotted his cunning plan to get us lost so he could claim an epic fail and overruled him.
Once inside we were warmly welcomed by staff and secured a table by the window which proved to be an ideal people watching spot. Well I say people watching but really this is code for a Stephen appraisal of the fashion sense/physical attributes of more or less every single passer-by (I‘ve also heard his management appraisals follow the same theme). It’s not even slightly annoying….
Getting back to the purpose of the visit though the food and cocktails menus are impressive, the cocktails one being so extensive it’s actually a book. First choice for me had to be the rhubarb and raspberry martini and it was easily the nicest cocktail I’ve had all year. It tasted as fresh as if the edible flower on top had just that second been picked. It’s made with the French liqueur Chambord which I love because the bottle reminds me of vintage perfume bottles, and Chase rhubarb vodka.
Stephen had a Gincello which also looked pretty, in fact when I suggested this might be a bit too girly for his big touch macho image (he thinks) he responded with “I’m going to <expletive deleted> drink it not <expletive deleted> it”. The smug expression on his face indicated he liked the blend of gin, limencello, and fruit juice topped with prosecco.
Drinking on an empty stomach can lead to trouble so it was time for food with Stephen choosing an appetizer of chicken skewers with peanut butter, coconut, lemongrass and green chilli. It wasn’t around for long and in an unprecedented healthy move even ate the watercress that it came with.
His 8oz British beef burger on a toasted brioche bun with Isle of Mull cheese and smoked bacon was a surprising success. This is because he had constantly looked across to the Five Guys across the road muttering that nothing could be as good as their burgers. In the end though he had to admit that he enjoyed it and the bacon was crispier on his Scarlet’s burger so disaster was averted.
My kale, radish, mango, walnut & ricotta salad was an interesting blend of flavours, was fresh and light and was perfectly accompanied by my glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc which I can (and do) drink by the bottle (Stephen would probably insert ‘more like from the bottle‘).
The butternut squash & spinach risotto that followed was well seasoned, not too heavy or sticky and such a generous portion that it couldn’t be finished. There was just about room for a pudding of grilled figs with honey crème fraiche that was a welcome and refreshing end to a lovely meal.
Scarlet’s really is that rare thing in central London, affordable, good quality, friendly and fun. We’re going back as I am dying to try the pornstar martini sharer cocktail. I just think it would be the perfect end to a stressful day at the office followed by some dancing downstairs (they’re open until 3am). Just maybe not on a school night….
Upper St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9NY
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