Chef Carlo Scotto adapts his culinary craft across two dining concepts in Marylebone. Switching between a refined fine-dining tasting menu upstairs at Xier, to XR – a casual concept downstairs, the two restaurants under one roof both stretch and showcase his expertise.
A prodigy of Angela Hartnett and his first solo venture – Xier and XR is a brave concept that Carlo has set himself. The opportunity to illustrate a devotion to his craft, uncompromising standards and meticulous work ethic, whilst drawing inspiration from his extensive travels through Europe and Asia – diners can choose between curated tasting menus upstairs to à la carte dining downstairs.
Turning our attention to Xier, here you will find a chic and privately set 36-cover restaurant that offers a set ten-course tasting menu. A minimalistic interior allows flavours from the bar, wine cellar and kitchen lead, and a chic and minimal theme with a soft grey palate frame the dining space’s large window that allows an abundance of natural light throughout lunchtime sittings.
A parade of Carlo’s innovative dishes highlight culinary touchpoints taken from Scandinavia and Japan combined with curious flavour combinations and theatricality. Xier may on the outset my seem stuffy with very traditional service styles, but its dishes reveal a fun and creative side that endeavours to transform fatigued opinions surrounding often outdated tasting menus. Having been described in the past as an ‘alchemist of cooking’, dishes are designed to surprise and excite diners with intricately designed plates that reflect Carlo’s life narrative. With ever-evolving dishes that continually challenge and push the boundaries to ensure diners never quite know what’s coming next.
Partnered with wine pairings that combine some of the finest European labels with exotic Asian flavours, we resumed with crispy pancakes with ceps, black truffle, chestnuts and miyagawa (a Chinese citrus fruit) served on a bed of green moss. With soya and miso dashi this followed on with an Orkney scallop with cured duck and a spritz of ‘Malabar parfume’ – something Heston Blumenthal could have conjured up. Course three – lipstick red rose cured salmon with foie gras, mandarin, hazelnuts and apple, soon followed by gyoza, again with ceps and topped with warm hay tea before a pastel-coloured palate cleanser.
Latter dishes increase in size to the relief of greedy guests. Produce that jumps from the sea onto land, the first – a delicate black cod in caramel miso, celeriac mille-feuille and pear and second, a rich cut of British organic beef, Muscat grape, artichoke and what Carlo has coined as ‘onion ash’. Accomplishing this ten-course experience is a selection of Swedish cheese and fresh ‘fizzy’ grapes before a collection of ‘sweet pleasure’ desserts – a plate of five delicate sweet dishes: one peanuts biscuit, passion fruit jelly, banana jam, salted peanuts, praline itakuja chocolate mousse and banana and peanuts ice cream.
Elevating Xier’s dishes with wine and cocktails is the restaurant’s sommelier Fillipo Carnevale. Pairing premium wines and bespoke cocktails to effectively complement each course, Xier also features a large walk-in wine cellar housing a large collection for all tastes. And for a wider selection of alternatives is an experienced team behind the bar who can mix several contemporary designed concoctions. Signature cocktails here include the ‘Manzanita’ a combination of Absolut Elyx vodka, absinth, apple liqueur and passion fruit; and the ‘Pink Cuban’ – made with Santa Teresa 1796 Rum with mint leaves and topped up with Canard-Duchene Champagne Rose’.
Address: 13 – 14 Thayer St, Marylebone, London W1U 3JR
Phone: +44 207 486 3222