Scully: Ottolenghi 2.0

Beyond a handful of restaurants, several books, a regular Guardian column and the now-guaranteed presence of zaatar in every self-respecting middle-class larder, Yotam Ottlolenghi has spawned a generation of professional chefs. Ramael Scully is one of these, now plying his trade under a restaurant in his own surname. If his mentor became famed for successfully combining genuinely eclectic ingredients from across the Middle East, then Scully goes one step further. In homage to his own roots, which take in Australia, India and Ireland, the dishes served in Scully embrace the cuisines of all these countries and beyond. Do not just bring your taste buds here to be stimulated, but perhaps a dictionary too. The quite daunting rows of jars that greet diners on their arrival (many of which are filled with ingredients prepared  on-site) perhaps give a sign of things to come. Fortunately for me, my dining comrade for our recent meal had visited previously and therefore already knew his arepa from his jicama. He ordered for both of us. For those interested, arepa is a Venezuelan shallow-fried cornmeal pancake, while jicama finds its roots in the southwest of the US/ Mexico and is perhaps best-described as a cross between a potato and a pear. We tried the former, but not the latter. Our arepa (all dishes are intended for sharing, but I was assured this was so good, that we ordered one each) was combined with an eggplant sambal and a Begamot-infused labneh. So, in one mouthful, we got flavours from South America, India and the Middle East. It constitutes a potentially audacious combination, but one that was pulled off with deftness and panache here. Such a philosophy was pervasive throughout our meal. Influences, flavours and textures were combined, as if they had always meant to be. Presentation was superb throughout, as evidenced by the char-grilled broccoli dish pictured, combined with Chinikiang vinegar and salted egg yolk. Although it would be easy to sing the praises of all the dishes, perhaps the stand-out was a superbly prepared short-rib beef pastrami, paired with fermented turnip and sour wood ear mushroom – a perfect Autumn dish packed full of flavour. It’s hard not to fall in love with the place and even someone as impatient as me was prepared to overlook the somewhat slow service. Scully is a celebration of joyful and inventive cooking. Ottolenghi would be proud.