Scotts was relaunched in December 2006, having been on this site since 1968, and featured as a hang out of James Bond in Ian Fleming's books. The decor is lovely, oak-panelled with art deco lamps and an attractive central bar around which the tables are lined up in tight rows. Table spacing is what one might term cosy, and certainly there will be plenty of opportunities to make new friends. If you reach for your knife be careful that you don't end up with the fork of the diner on the next table.
The menu is appealing, with plenty of traditional seafood such as oysters and Dover sole, as well as a few carnivorous options. Traditional dishes are very much in evidence. The wine list is manageable in size and contains some relative bargains e.g. Dreams by Jermann at £68 a bottle is only twice the £34 retail price. A Bonny Doon Pacific Rim Riesling is an affordable £28 (though this is around three times retail price). The food itself is less appealing priced e.g. my three small scallops were £15.25 while grilled Dover Sole is £26.50, with vegetables on top of this e.g. £4.75 for some spinach.
The atmosphere is somewhat formal, with smartly dressed waiters, no music distraction and starched white linen tablecloths. My starter of scallops consisted of three scallops served on their shell, each with a pool of chilli and garlic sauce. The sauce was well controlled, the chilli being subtle enough not to overwhelm the delicate taste of the scallops, but the problem was the scallops themselves. The scallops did not seem to me to be of the highest standard (I wonder whether they were diver caught?) and were cooked a fraction too long. I am never sure about cooking them with their coral, since the coral ideally needs a different cooking time, but basically these were just not very exciting scallops (1/10).
Stargazy pie was promising, but the three sardine heads sticking out of the pie were a distraction from what was a rather one dimensional pie, a somewhat watery cream sauce around a few pieces of fish, all of which rather lacked seasoning. The pastry was fine, but the overall effect was rather bland (2/10). Fortunately a side order of chips was better, thin chips that were crisp and well seasoned, while Jerusalem artichokes were nicely cooked and gave an appealing earthy contrast to the fish (4/10 for the vegetables).
Lemon posset dessert lacked conviction though, it needing more lemon flavour to liven up what had become a rather dull mouse (that was rather thicker than a posset should ideally be). Coffee arrived lukewarm, and to their credit was replaced quickly and, without prompting, removed from the bill. Slices of brown bread were merely pleasant.
Overall I can score this a 2/10, mainly based on the vegetables, but given the high prices here there is a serious question over value for money. This is a pity as the room itself is very attractive, and service was capable.