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London Restaurant Review: Carlo Scotto at the Four Seasons Hotel London on Park Lane

My backpack was given its own stool, my jacket was politely taken away and hung up and no fewer than three people accompanied me to the toilet to make sure I got there in one piece. It’s fair to say things are looking pretty snazzy. And that makes sense, because I’m at the really chic Four Seasons Hotel London on Park Lane, sampling an experimental seven-course tasting menu from critically acclaimed chef Carlo Scotto.

Scotto has set himself up in the store’s kitchen Four Seasons‘s elegant restaurant Amaranto for the month of April ahead of the opening of its new eatery, the 36-seat Amethyst, in Mayfair next month. It’s a significant development for the Naples-born chef, who closed his modern-European Marylebone restaurant Xier in December 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “We’re going to blow Amethyst’s customers away,” he assures me.

Carlo Scotto

Over the next few weeks, Scotto will use his residency at the Four Seasons to test the proverbial waters for his new project. I wasn’t told which of the dishes I’m trying will make it onto Amethyst’s final menu, but this teaser suggests that Nordic and Japanese flavors will feature prominently alongside its signature bold and innovative ingredient combinations.

Unfortunately for the hardworking and passionate team, the restaurant was fairly empty when I visited on a Wednesday evening. This was due to the fact that the hotel’s capacity had dropped significantly (probably due to Ramadan) coupled with particularly bad weather that evening. It feels like unfortunate timing that the end of the fast coincides with the end of Scotto’s pop-up, but there’s so much hype surrounding Amethyst that it might be better for the team to spend a month of trial and error spend without being fell off your feet.

When a dining experience calls itself “experimental,” it can set off faint alarm bells, but Scotto’s menu has managed to push boundaries without losing sight of what diners actually want to eat. My highlights included a warm and endearingly chubby sourdough made with potato and rosemary oil, served with a smoked butter I could have happily shoved in with a teaspoon, and an umami-heavy, melt-in-the-mouth helping of Alaskan black cod served in a caramelized miso broth.

Black cod

A salty parmesan burrata croquette was another highlight, the roasted delight accompanied by a tarragon mayonnaise and burnt hay – the latter being a first for me and I imagine many of the diners happen not to be horses either (I had to double checking that I had heard our waiter correctly). Another stunning dish, consisting of salmon marinated in rosewater for 30 hours (not a minute wasted!) and a sumptuously creamy foie gras topped with tiny Granny Smith apple “buds”.

One concern you might have when facing a tasting menu is that you’ll be too full to appreciate what you’re eating by the time you reach the final stages of the meal, but thankfully the portion sizes here have been well thought out. I also appreciated the pace of the experience – we had just the right amount of time to digest between courses without getting impatient for the next bite to arrive.

Caviar tart with scallops, galangal and matsutake mushrooms

Our tasting menu has been expertly curated by Filippo Carnevale, who was head sommelier at Xier and takes the reins at Amethyst alongside his longtime business partner Scotto. My dining partner and I enjoyed receiving brief explanations from Carnevale with each pour, which put each wine into context for us and guided us through the thought process behind the pairing.

We started with a creamy and almost nutty Ruinart champagne with the finest bubbles I’ve ever tasted, before working our way through a series of white wines hailing from California’s Napa Valley, Rioja in Spain and Langhe in northern Italy. Our beef dish was paired with a full-bodied, smoky glass of Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon, also from Napa Valley, whose clove-like overtones perfectly complement the richness of the meat, which was marinated with more than 30 spices and included grilled Medjool dates.

The dessert — an “amethyst geode” of crunchy praline, hazelnut mousse, bittersweet clementine jam, and white chocolate — was Instagram-worthy, but thankfully not a case of style over substance. It really resembled the geological formation, aided by the rock-like slab of dehydrated chocolate on top (which had a rather odd, crumbly texture). Accompanied by a delightfully fruity Sicilian dessert wine which was our seventh sip of the evening and perhaps a bit unnecessary but at the Four Seasons…

The'Amethyst Geode'

There are only a few weeks left to experience Scotto’s stay so I would suggest booking immediately. But there’s no need to stress if your chocka looks April because all of this and more will no doubt be available from Amethyst, which already exists taking reservations.

The seven course tasting menu at the Four Seasons is £120 per person, with the option to add either a classic or prestige wine pairing at an additional cost of £135 or £195 per person respectively. Book see fourseasons.com

https://www.theweek.co.uk/arts-life/food-drink/956396/carlo-scotto-four-seasons-restaurant-review London Restaurant Review: Carlo Scotto at the Four Seasons Hotel London on Park Lane

Fry Electronics Team

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