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Categories: DiningOpeningsSFoodie

Scullery, a British Cafe in the Tenderloin

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The word “scullery” brings to mind Mrs. Patmore carping at Daisy to scrub some bowls in the early seasons of Downton Abbey. But in the Tenderloin, they’re more likely to be associated with McQuade’s chutney, cold brew nitro, and light fixtures made of rulers.

A project by the same couple — Sharon and Jason Lindley — who own Bacchus Kirk, a Tendernob bar three blocks up and two over — this Scullery is a British cafe serving a variety of coffees and toasts. (There is Five Mountains Tea as well, as befits a UK establishment, and kombucha, too. But this being San Francisco, coffee is paramount.)

No matter how many times I remind myself that Welsh rarebit is just fancy, open-faced grilled cheese, it retains that ineradicable whiff of Anglophilic sophistication. Here, it’s $7, and made with aged farmhouse cheddar, and chutney and ham are available as add-ons. Go for the full monty, and get it with spicy tomato chutney. You have options, though. Many of them are spicier than the average product from the British Isles, like habanero pomegranate or raspberry chipotle jelly.

Ruler light fixture at Scullery (Peter Lawrence Kane)

And if rarebit’s not your bag, there’s also avocado toast with garlic oil, rock salt, and pepper; smoked trout toast with cream cheese, lemon, and olive oil; and spicy PB&J and AB&J. (That’s almond butter, FYI.) Or just strip it to the bare essentials and get it with cinnamon sugar or salted butter. Plus there are pastries from nearby Jane on Larkin.

Although the walls are lined with shelves and eight or so stools, Scullery is so small there isn’t even a table, making it mostly a to-go kind of place that will likely serve the immediate neighborhood. And the ceiling fixtures are Edison bulbs ensconced in “export quality” wooden rulers, like staves of a barrel, which is a nice touch.

Even though there’s no swifter route to feeling lonely and depressed than eating over the sink, you’re likely to walk away satiated and happy after eating in this Scullery.

Scullery, 687 Geary St., 415-440-4497, no website.

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Peter Lawrence Kane @wannacyber

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