Cool and sleek is not the look that normally comes to mind when you think of London Greek restaurants, which tend to be cosy and distinctly folksy.
But Ergon, just round the corner from Selfridges, aims to bring the genre up to date with the outpost of a successful Thelassoniki deli-cum-restaurant venture.
If one of owner Thomas Douzis’s secret weapons is ingredients sourced from Greece’s finest small independent producers, the other is surely the combination of executive chef Dimitris Skarmoutsos, who has worked at California’s highly-rated French Laundry, and chef de cuisine Dimitris Katrivesis of the even more famous and highly-rated El Bulli.
The typical rustic meze plate is out here; instead expect more original starters like black tzatziki flavoured with squid ink, and fava beans topped with truffle oil and caramelised onions. As for the taramasalata, it’s strictly for aficionadoes of uber-strong fish roe – surprisingly, a little too strong even for the tastebuds of this hard-core tarama lover.
Main courses include, inevitably, lamb slow-cooked for hours on the bone, but it seems more fun to share a variety of small plates, reasonably priced from £5-8, of which the Greek tomato salad with basil oil and creamed feta was a triumph. Cheese features heavily in everything from little pies to the Cretan mizithra on the lentil and roasted red pepper salad, not to mention a Gruyere-style cheese from Naxos melted over fries. It’s worth saving room for Greek coffee cheesecake, and indeed the Greek coffee itself.
Whether Londoners other than Greek ex-pats will make it downstairs to the deli stocking everything from olive oil pasta remains to be seen; in this setting it feels like an afterthought to the catering effort upstairs. And this sustains the diner’s full attention – a great little menu of unusual Greek fare to explore while taking a load off during a West End shopping trip.
Do try one of the many fine Greek wines on offer – enjoyed by this diner were a glass of white Malagousila followed by a glass of red Limnio/Mavroudi/Mavrotragano, both from Gerovasileiou. Later in the day cocktails come into their own, with the Rouzo – a mix of ouzo with fresh lemonade and hibiscus – looking more set to win the hearts of Londoners than the scary-sounding Vissinada – a mix of Cognac, black rum and sour cherry syrup.
16 Picton Place, London W1U 1BP
020 7486 9210