Modern Greek restaurants continue to dazzle London. One of the latest is Gaia, the fourth in a growing group. There are Gaia branches in Dubai, Doha, and Monte Carlo. Gaia opened its door in London on December 1, the 154-cover restaurant promises to bring “the craft, simplicity and warmth” of Grecian culture to Mayfair — Bacchanalia territory, indeed — a “luxurious” taverna kitted out with neo-classical features: domed arches, Hellenic statues, and azure blue furnishings against limestone walls.
Together with chef Izu Ani, restaurateur Evgeny Kuzin developed the idea, laying out a route from the Gulf to London. The restaurant will have freshly baked bread, fish displayed on a counter, and cuisine roasted in a traditional wooden oven every day.
“We hope to create a home away from home for Londoners and introduce the city to the way we love to create lifestyle concepts,” Kuzin told the Standard.
“London is a key cosmopolitan city — one of the world’s leading financial centres and a cultural hub. It’s imperative that Gaia has a home in London.”
Ani also works alongside chef Orestis Kotefas to create the menus. The pair have spent 13 years cooking together — at La Bastide Saint Antoine and Auberge de L’Ill in the south of France, and St Sebastian’s lauded restaurant Arzak.
Mezze dishes will include taramasalata with pita bread, stuffed vine leaves, and prawns marinated in rosemary, harissa, lemon juice and olive oil. Larger plates might be seafood orzo of calamari, prawns and clams, and lamb cutlets with tzatziki. Wines, cocktails? Of course.
Ani said: “Our philosophy is one of culture and cuisine. We focus on food — on simple, honest and humble ingredients.
“We first opened five years ago and have built a strong foundation. In London, we aim to ensure the essence of Gaia remains as authentic as it was when it first opened, as it becomes embedded within the local community.”