Ergon in Marylebone
Ergon, the eagerly anticipated Greek restaurant-cum-deli is a welcome delight among the pandemonium of mediocre restaurants off Oxford Street. Nestled next to the food quarter of St Christopher’s Place behind Selfridges, the relaxed surroundings are the perfect place to unwind and enjoy an innovative take on Greek cooking.
Executive chef Dimitris Skarmoutsos (formally of French Laundry and a judge on Greek Masterchef) redefines traditional Greek recipes using a range of produce from around the islands to deliver carefully presented meze, mirroring a small plate style menu. Spread over two floors, the décor is bright, comfortable but perhaps a little too cosy with tables very close together. Exposed brick walls add to the rustic feel and authenticity of the restaurant, along with a stunning wall mounted wine rack and shelves, which brim with Ergon deli produce for sale.
The menu is separated carefully by price, ranging from salads and dip from £5 up to £17. Opting for the more authentic options, we started with taramosolata with bread that was particularly salty – nonetheless delicious and evidently home-made. This was followed by grilled squid with black tzatiki, tomato marmalade and spicy oil, which really stole the show. Probably the best squid outside Greece, the warm rings of baby squid were cooked to perfection and served with an outstanding, unusual black tzatziki made from squid ink and cucumber juice. Although barely visible on the grey slate plates, it complemented the bold flavours of the squid and spicy oil beautifully.
Further small plates followed: homemade gyros with spicy yoghurt were some of the best in London with succulent and well-seasoned pork, topped with tangy red onions and tomatoes taking us right back to a small taverna in Skiathos. The sea bass was perfectly cooked, with crispy skin and underside crunchy to the bite without being too dry. This was accompanied with wild herbs and simple vegetables with little seasoning – adding salt was the initial reaction, until you ate the caper leaves, whose salty citrusy flavour compensated perfectly.
Greek desserts almost always feature a simple yoghurt and a sickly sweet baklava so we looked for a glimmer of innovation on these traditional desserts. We finished with a Greek coffee cheesecake which wasn’t set firmly as you would expect but instead presented in a jar; cream cheese mixed with peanut butter and caramel giving it a liquid texture and a more than ample serving of coffee flavoured biscuit crunch layered in between. My guest opted for the Greek yoghurt mousse, honeycomb and sesame flakes, which came beautifully presented in a deep bowl; creamy Greek yoghurt served with a crunchy delicate honeycomb peppered with freeze dried raspberries and pistachio, incredibly light and refreshing with all the modern cooking techniques we had hoped for.
The small wine list is expectedly all Greek, and with only 4 wines by the glass one can assume they have been carefully selected, with prices ranging from £19 – £55. Traditional spirits such Mastiha and Ouzo also make for boozy cocktails that are not to be missed, particularly the Mojios and Tsipouro martini. Beers from Santorini and soft drinks such as EPSA soda add to the all-Greek menu.
As Ergon enter their fourth week since opening, the restaurant is full by 8pm, which serves as a great indication of their increasing popularity. It is simple but authentic, not too Mayfair-posh yet contemporary; the buzzy atmosphere is great for a couple of glasses of wine with your girlfriends or dinner with a group. Go now to enjoy a little of Greece in Mayfair – fabulous food without the hefty price tag!
To book a table at Ergon, 15 Picton Place Marylebone London W1U 1BP, 0207 486 9210 or visit here.